Daily Archives: May 7, 2019

May 7 Pursuing God

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:7–11

Key Verse: Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

As youngsters, many of us learned to recite one or more “children’s prayers.” Believers and nonbelievers alike can easily recall the familiar verses of “Now I lay me down to sleep” and “God is great, God is good.” In our formative years, it is vitally important to grasp the concept of communication with God. However, as we mature in our spiritual lives, these elementary, repetitive prayers seem to lose their value.

What, then, is the best way for a growing Christian to speak with God? Examine the text of Matthew 7:7–11. These encouraging words are meant to inspire prayer. Verses 7 and 8 advise us to ask, seek, and knock in order that we may receive, find, and have doors opened to us. Verses 9–11 reassure us that God’s intent is never to harm us, but rather to give us things that are good for us.

What can we learn from this passage? Clearly, God wants us to pursue Him in our prayers and our actions, with confidence in His ability to meet our needs. Yet pursuing God (asking, seeking, and knocking) requires active participation. Our heavenly Father wants to be known. To truly know Him, we must seek His countenance, wisdom, character, and will for our lives. As you seek God, pray with originality and zeal. Pray actively from your heart, instead of passively from your memory.

Lord, help me to seek all that You are, in my prayers. In asking, seeking, and knocking, may I pursue You and Your will.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 134). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 7 God’s Protective Clothing

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10–18

Key Verse: Ephesians 6:12

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

At some point, you will be tempted to compromise your walk with the Lord. It may come in a way that is obvious, and immediately you will say no.

More than likely, the enemy’s deception will wear a subtle face. Once you accept Christ as your Savior, Satan’s goal shifts. Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and God owns the deed. However, the enemy remains committed to your spiritual and emotional destruction.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” wrote Paul, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 nasb).

Therefore, clad yourself each day with God’s protective covering—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the gospel of peace on your feet, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit.

Prayer is the cement that seals the armor to our lives. In teaching His disciples this principle, Jesus prayed, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 11:4).

Jesus understood how deadly the enemy’s darts could be. But He didn’t leave us hopeless. He lives within our hearts. Therefore, He wants us to take our stand against the enemy by faith through constant prayer.

Father, do not lead me into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one. Protect me from his deadly darts. Help me take my stand against the enemy by faith through constant prayer.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 134). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 7 Hope for Every Situation

Scripture reading: Numbers 13:25–33

Key verse: Psalm 7:17

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,

And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

God instructed Israel to send twelve spies to survey the promised land, a land that was already theirs. He had given it to them as a result of His covenant with Abraham (Num. 13:2).

The spies confirmed what God had told them. The land flowed with milk and honey. A single cluster of grapes was so large, two men were required to carry it. However, the report of the spies filled the people’s hearts with discouragement. They told how the land was populated by strong and mighty people. The cities, they said, were “fortified and very large” (Num. 13:28).

God’s people became frightened and begged Moses to take them back into the desert. The victory that was theirs was lost, and they chose to believe Satan’s lie and doubted God’s ability to grant them victory.

God allows obstacles so you can learn to trust Him and praise Him in every circumstance. His goal is not to harm you but to bless you. Don’t allow life’s obstacles to keep you from enjoying God’s plan for your life. God has allowed them for a purpose. Trust Him, and realize that when you feel out of control, He is never shaken. He is your sovereign Deliverer, and in Him there is eternal hope for every situation—so praise Him!

I praise You, Lord, that You are my sovereign Deliverer, and in You there is hope for every situation.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 134). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Why You Should Fear God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

According to statistics, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. That equates to 18.1% of the total population. When we consider the vast number of people who are plagued with fear, it’s amazing to consider that there are many different types of causes or sources to the anxiety. There is a phobia based anxiety and then a more general anxiety disorder as well. At the end of the day, millions of people in America are afraid of many different things, but we would be shocked to know how small the percentage of people is in America who actually fear God.

Why You Should Fear the Wrath of God

There are many people today who are living life in complete rejection of God’s presence and complete denial of his authority. Some claim to be agnostic while others embrace atheism. Still others live such lives as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholics while rejecting the authority of God. Religion is not what shields people from God’s wrath. Countless numbers of people have gone to hell while being very much committed to religion.

Years ago, a wicked Pharaoh ruled Egypt and placed the Jews under brutal slave practices. God raised up a prophet named Moses to lead the people out of the land of Egypt. However, when Moses went before the wicked king to announce the plan and demands of God, the arrogant king responded by saying, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). It would not be long before the God of all creation made himself known to the arrogant and confused ruler. It would be a lesson he would never forget. We must not forget that Pharaoh was very much a religious man—but he refused to bow to the one true and living God.

In this life, we have many things that can cause us to fear. Such examples may include the fear of spiders, snakes, or violent storms. Still others fear disease and death itself. While there are things in this life that instill fear into the hearts of people, we must be reminded that we must fear God. Storms and snakes may damage your physical body, but it’s God who can damn your soul in hell for eternity. Listen to the words of Jesus:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).

If you have never turned to God by faith in Jesus Christ and repented of your rebellion and the violation of God’s law—you have a reason to fear God. Consider the fact that the very Creator of the entire universe—the sovereign ruler of the entire world has given us specific demands, yet as a rebel of his law you will be judged by him. Holy justice will be executed on your soul and there will be no plea bargain. In short, you should fear God. Jesus said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

Consider the terms used in Scripture to describe the place of damnation:

  • Matthew 5:22 – “hell fire”
  • Matthew 8:12 – “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  • Matthew 22:13 – “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  • Luke 13:28 – “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  • Mark 9:44-48 – Three times the Bible mentions “worm dies not” and “fire is not quenched.”
  • Mark 9:47 – “hell fire”
  • Revelation 20:14 – “lake of fire”

Beyond specific references to hell, the Bible likewise uses other references in a more indirect manner to describe the judgment of God upon sinners.  Such references include:

Why Christians Should Fear God Too

As a child of God, we have the wonderful joy of knowing that all of our sins have been atoned for in the death of Jesus on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24; John 3:16). As a result, we are no longer the enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). We are now adopted into the family of God and enjoy the privileges of sons and daughters of God (Rom. 8:15-17). However, even so, we too must fear God!

When we as God’s children fear God, it’s a different type of fear than an unbeliever who must fear the wrath of God. As the children of God, we learn that we fear God by reverencing his sovereign power, his benevolent love, his transcendent holiness, and his providential rule of the entire universe. Consider what God’s Word teaches about such fear:

  • Psalm 103:17 – But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children
  • Psalm 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
  • Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  • Proverbs 8:13 – The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
  • Proverbs 10:27 – The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
  • Proverbs 14:26 – In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
  • Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, it’s a good reminder of how we as God’s children should approach God with humble hearts and a proper fear that is genuine respect of who God is and what he has accomplished in the salvation of our soul. A proper fear of God leads to a proper worship of God. A proper fear and worship of God leads to a proper lifestyle that brings glory to God. Without a proper fear of God—we will be led down the path of pride and self-serving that doesn’t bring God glory.

Do you have a proper fear of God?

via Why You Should Fear God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

Remembering the Heretic, Rachel Held Evans — Reformation Charlotte

Rachel Held Evans, the progressive author and speaker, passed away at 37 on May 4, 2019 due to complications from an infection. She tragically left behind two very young children and her husband. Rachel Held Evans impacted the Christian community in many ways that will leave its mark for generations to come.

Held Evans stood in stark contrast to orthodox Biblical Christianity and challenged biblical beliefs at their core. She was a hero of the “progressive Christian” movement. Evans was a pro-LGBT, pro-abortion feminist who shook her fist at Jesus Christ Himself, practically daring Him to reign supreme over His own creation.

While Southern Baptist leaders are throwing money and campaigning fundraisers for Rachel Held Evans — an enemy of the cross — one can only imagine how many godly Christian mothers passed away over the same weekend that do not receive the same treatment. Held Evans gets this treatment because the progressive Christian movement feels the need to signal their virtue to a Pagan, God-hating world. Rachel Held Evans was anything but a godly, Christian mother and wife.

Held Evans denied one of the primary attributes of God — His masculinity. Whether or not Held Evans “liked” it, God chose to reveal Himself to humanity as male and we don’t have the freedom or authority to reassign gender to our creator. Evans would regularly blaspheme God in such ways as “God is not a man or a woman. God is spirit.” Of course God is spirit, but God is also a man as the Scripture repeatedly refers to Him as a man.

In one article Held Evans wrote, she actually referred to God as a female, writing, “And, because of today, because of the cross, it is a pain that God Herself understands.”

via Remembering the Heretic, Rachel Held Evans — Reformation Charlotte

Begging: The Place to Start | The Master’s Seminary

We are guilty of arrogance, not merely neglect, when we fail to beg for the Spirit’s help in the study of Scripture. God will likely give understanding through the tools we use, but when we use tools while neglecting Him, the tools have become idols.

Dale Ralph Davis | May 7, 2019

I was reading Richard Pratt’s fine book, He Gave Us Stories. He was discussing what precious little attention we give to the work of the Holy Spirit in the task of interpreting Scripture. Of course, some articles and brief pieces discuss this, but Dr. Pratt stated that, to his knowledge, the most recent work of any size on this matter was written by John Owen over three hundred years ago. I looked up the end note for the documentation; there Pratt cites Owen and John Owen’s words smacked me between the eyes:

For a man solemnly to undertake the interpretation of any portion of Scripture without invocation of God, to be taught and instructed by his Spirit, is a high provocation of him; nor shall I expect the discovery of truth from any one who thus proudly engages in work so much above his ability.

We are guilty of arrogance, not merely neglect, when we fail to beg for the Spirit’s help in the study of Scripture. We may have such arrogance even when we seem to be seeking the Spirit’s aid – I think of those times when in a light-headed tokenism we utter our slap-happy prayer ‘that the Lord would guide and direct us as we study this passage.’

One shudders to think how flippant we are.

But how many more times we neglect any overt seeking of the Spirit’s help! The pressure is on. The passage must be studied for the sermon or lesson. We pull out our exegetical notes; we grab several of the better commentaries off the shelf; make sure one Bible dictionary of choice is close at hand. Deep into our study time, the thought occurs to us that we have not looked – nor did we think of looking – to the God who breathed out this Scripture to give us an understanding of the Scripture. He will likely give that understanding through the tools we use, but when we use tools while neglecting Him, the tools have become idols.

We may have a high view of the Bible; we may be distraught because large sectors of the church seem to ignore its authority. Yet in our own Scripture work, we easily ignore its chief Interpreter. Professionalism rather than piety drives us. We needn’t be surprised at our sterility and poverty if we refuse to be beggars for the Spirit’s help.

There is a well-worn story of George Gillespie at the meeting of Parliament and the Westminster Assembly. Someone made a long and studious argument in favor of Erastianism. His associates urged young Gillespie to answer it. Gillespie repeated the substance of the previous discourse and refuted it. It was common in the Assembly for those listening to take notes while someone was speaking – as an aid to their memory. George Gillespie had seemed to be doing just that while listening to the speaker he later refuted. But when his friends could sneak a look at Gillespie’s notebook, all they could find were scribblings like, ‘Lord, send light,’ ‘Lord, give assistance,’ ‘Lord, defend thine own cause.’

That must ever be our attitude toward interpreting Scripture. We must begin with the Spirit (cf. Gal. 3:3), and we must not only begin with Him, but we must keep returning to Him again and again.

We always must begin with begging.

This summer, Dr. Dale Ralph Davis will teach on how to preach the Old Testament in the Doctor of Ministry Summer 2019 session. To learn more about the D.Min. program and to apply, visit tms.edu/dmin.

This extract is taken from The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts by Dale Ralph Davis, (Mentor/Christian Focus Publications, Fearn, Ross-shire 2012)

Dale Ralph Davis avatarDale Ralph Davis is a Guest Lecturer in The Master’s Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. He is also Minister in Residence of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

Source: Begging: The Place to Start

The God Delusion — More Delusion than Deity

The Establishment (and its wholly owned media and educational system) is now redefining history, much as the communists in Russia and China and the Nazis in Germany did. The political left has redefined our American Founding Fathers as rich, selfish, slave owning, racist pigs, and over two generations of students have been taught this rewrite (redefinition) of American history – just as the masses had their history redefined for them by “the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984. But today, in our high-tech world, tampering with information (and hiding it) is far easier (more difficult to detect). So-called “image management” agencies deliberately change the entries presented in Wikipedia. The European Data Protection Act is actually a license to obliterate incriminating facts from Google.

In 2010, Wolfgang Schäuble exaggerated the size of the Greek debt. In the second quarter of 2014, Italy straight-out lied about its GDP growth. The following year in a bribery case, it became clear that the Italian meteorological office in one region had lied about the weather outlook for the Adriatic Coast. All three sources claimed, however, that in their definition of debt, GDP, and weather, they had not meant to mislead. The term Brexit in the UK has been redefined by the pro-EU politicians in that country, so that, in all likelihood, England will never leave the EU. Even the European Union is being redefined to be much more of a regional dictatorship than was originally conceived.

Sadly, a broad spectrum of the Earth’s citizens (probably over 95%) are largely unaware of the redefinition of terms by the elite global socialists. This lack of awareness is based on several factors – laziness, ideological rigidity, IQ, lack of education, social media manipulation, broadcast media distraction, robotically accepting education, job pressures, family pressures, financial problems, and so forth. However, with the advent of the Internet (and social media) over the past 15 years, and the alternate (anti-Establishment) news media – a growing number of formerly unaware individuals began to wake up.

This is a major reason why Clinton lost and Trump won the election in 2016. The Establishment and its political left allies understand what has been happening, and are panicking about this trend. And that is why they are going all-out to purge all conservative reporting, news, and opinion from the Internet and social media. That is why the Establishment is clamping down on the online conservative news sites and promoting the idea that “fake news” emanates only from the dangerous “lunatic fringe.

They have begun to describe any criticism of the left, globalists, or the government as “online abuse” and “fake news” from deranged lunatics. But, they are not just trying to redefine criticism, but ALL of the news. Just watch CNN or CNBC or Yahoo News (just to name a few) to see this ugly reality. If Donald Trump wants to have any chance of winning in 2020, he needs to launch a major counteroffensive against this attempted leftist takedown of the alternate (true) news.

(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, September 2018)

Secular Writer Highlights the Error of the Prosperity Gospel — ChurchLeaders

A secular writer has taken on a question many in the church world have been trying to answer for a while now. Writing for the Financial Times, Edward Luce tackles the continued appeal of the prosperity gospel, what its teachers (like Joel Osteen) believe, and how it’s so far off from orthodox Christianity. Dr. Albert Mohler feels Luce’s article,  “A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel,” hits the nail on the head.

“The secular reporter for the Financial Times seems to have a stronger grasp on the teachings of orthodox Christianity than Osteen,” said Dr. Mohler, who is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What Does Joel Osteen Believe?

Osteen’s critics often accuse him of preaching the prosperity gospel, which could be described as “a pragmatic spirituality that correlates circumstantial blessings or curses with human strength, achievement or even faith.” Put another way, “God wants believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy.” By focusing on comfort and happiness, prosperity gospel preachers minimize the Christian concepts of sin, eternal judgment, and suffering.

Luce says that about 20 percent of Americans attend a church that teaches the prosperity gospel, and this way of thinking was something he definitely encountered while attending a night class called “Quest for Authentic Manhood” at Lakewood, Osteen’s church in Houston, Texas. The leader of the men’s group told Luce, “If you want to feel bad, Lakewood is not the place for you. Most people want to leave church feeling better than when they went in.” More than one of the group’s attendees had a story about how once they started tithing money to Lakewood, God blessed them financially. One of the men said, “God works fast when you work for him.”

Luce also interviewed Osteen at one of his “Nights of Hope,” a “two-and-a-half-hour, all-singing-and-dancing show that he takes on the road every few weeks.” When Luce asked him why he didn’t talk about sin and redemption, Osteen responded, “Look, I am a preacher’s son so I’m an optimist. Life already makes us feel guilty every day. If you keep laying shame on people, they get turned off.” Luce’s assessment? Osteen is closer to Oprah than to Billy Graham.

Why Do People Buy Into the Prosperity Gospel?

One reason why Osteen’s message is appealing is that he and his church are extremely wealthy. As one of the men in the men’s group said, “We don’t want to follow a loser.” Another is that people are looking for hope in their lives, and the prosperity gospel offers the promise that life can be better. Lakewood has actually helped some people better their lives, such as one of the men in the group who turned his life around, stopping his self-destructive habits and saving his relationship.

Perhaps one of the most powerful reasons why the prosperity gospel appeals to people is that elements of it are true. Jesus does offer us a new identity that is defined neither by our pasts, our brokenness, nor our shame. God loves us more than we could ever comprehend. He is good and wants good for us (even though He doesn’t promise that life will be easy). He offers us mercy instead of condemnation. But that is only part of the story.

Serious Problems

One of the problems with prosperity gospel teaching is that grace and mercy don’t mean anything if we haven’t done anything wrong. It is one thing to say our guilt and shame no longer define us. It’s another to ignore the fact that God is holy and we are legitimately guilty before Him apart from Jesus’ sacrifice. As Dr. Mohler observes, “Osteen has reversed the entire theological order of biblical Christianity—an order that begins with the supreme priority, glory, and holiness of God.”

Says Dr. Mohler, “Perhaps the most horrifying statement in the Financial Times article pertains to Osteen’s exegesis of Jesus’ last words on the cross.” According to Osteen, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He wasn’t referring to the fact that His death was an atoning sacrifice, paying the penalty for our sins. Rather, Jesus was saying that He was putting an end to our guilt, low self-esteem, mediocrity, and depression.

But what Jesus has done is far greater: “Christ declared that salvation had been secured; that death and the devil were defeated. The temple veil was torn in two, declaring the end of the sacrificial system because the perfect sacrifice had been made. Through Jesus Christ, we now have direct access to the Father.”

The cross points to another significant error of prosperity teaching: the idea that a faithful Christian life will not entail suffering. Jesus, Dr. Mohler points out, told his followers to take up their own crosses (an instrument of torture) and follow Him. He told us we would have to lose our lives to find them. He never promised that our lives will be comfortable.

Dr. Mohler concludes that Joel Osteen is offering a “wishy-washy, self-centered, self-exalting message of psychotherapy.” His message stands in stark contrast to that of Jesus, who “brings salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.”

via Secular Writer Highlights the Error of the Prosperity Gospel — ChurchLeaders