Sunday, October 28, 2012

Behold Our God



Sunday, September 23, 2012

10,000 Reasons



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Word Cloud


Wordle: Bible Words

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Takeaway For 2011

As troubling as it is:

1) MOST professing Christians with whom I’ve had encounters have absolutely no conviction or desire to align their thinking and actions with the Word of God – which is the believers’ sole authority.

2) Equally stubborn to the professing Christians’ refusal to bend the knee to Scripture is their fierce argumentation of their own opinions based upon the authority of ‘self.’

3) The narrow road is getting more narrow and as a result, rather lonely.

It’s really been a year of trial and testing for me. Ultimately, I wouldn’t have it any other way for in each situation God has been gracious to further grow me in Christ. None of these situations were easy, nor were they pleasant, but I daresay they were necessary. Jesus said we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, Jude tells us that we must contend earnestly for the faith; and sometimes the cost of doing so is high. Well, high by our human standards of measure anyway. Certainly I’ve won no popularity contests this year, yet I have had people separate from me, treat me in rather un-Christlike manner, and even bully me – all self-proclaimed believers in Christ. And I don’t mind saying….it hurts….deeply. But I do pray that the cry of my heart will be as Paul’s in that I can say with bold assurance, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Phil 3:8-11

My hope and prayer for all of us who name the Name of Christ is that in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and that we will love and embrace His Word as the authority and life-giving nourishment it is, so that our minds are renewed and our lives transformed. May we boldly proclaim the truth of His Word… regardless of the cost to ourselves.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

God's Word

It's been quite a while since I've had anything I desired to write about, but THIS is the best quote I've heard in a long time, and I'm compelled to comment.

"Our object should not be to have Scripture on our side but to be on the side of Scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation." - William Symington
I'd never heard of  William Symington before today and don't know much about him, but he's spot on with this one.  It's of interest to me because just in this year I have encountered more professing Christians who, in one way or another, have proven to be more than a little antagonistic toward the Word of God.  On several occasions I found myself in either a Facebook, email or personal conversation regarding some spiritual issue, and the more I contended for the faith, the more I tried to draw them back to the Bible, the more I was met with resistance and a stubborn refusal to bend to what God has said.
I've been continually dumbfounded by this kind of "MY-opinion-is-what-matters" belief system coming from, as I said, professing Christians - those who claim to love Christ.  In pondering it, though, I've come to be less dumbfounded and more incensed - in what I pray would be a righteous anger.  Because the FACT is - redeemed believers do not despise the Word of God, nor do they hold in in contempt.  They do not undervalue it or dimiss it in favor of their own thoughts and their own opinions.  One cannot love God yet hate His word.  This is an impossibility for one who is truly in Christ.  So I'm left with the conclusion that some of these folk are not in Christ, as they so declare. 
In the power of the Holy Spirit, we as people of the faith, are to forsake our sinful opinions, renounce our way of doing things, and live by the very words of life that God was so gracious to provide.  Notice I said 'in the power of the Holy Spirit,' for surely there is no other way it can be done.  The Scriptures are completely contrary to our natures. Nonetheless, God calls His people to be holy as He is holy.  Thankfully, though, He provided the Holy Spirit and He that began the work will be faithful to complete it.
As Paul called upon the Corinthians to do, so I urge you to do - examine yourselves to see if you are indeed in the faith.  What is your reaction to the Scriptures and also to those who appeal to them?  Do you bristle at their use?  Do you have any desire to conform to what God requires of you?  Is your mind being transformed by them?  Just some things for us all to consider.  May God have mercy. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

O Great God



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Agnus Dei










Holy Holy Holy




Monday, June 27, 2011

Jesus, Thank You



Monday, June 20, 2011

Strange Encounters of the Christian Kind

I can't help it.  Some things are just blogworthy.

In my experience as of late, I'm rapidly discovering that many professing Christians have ZERO inclination to even surfacely speak of biblical matters, much less undertake serious and meaningful discourse on the Scriptures.  I find this to be most disheartening because as the redeemed people of God, we are called to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15), and to be ready in and out of season to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2).  I have a feeling those passages mean that we should contend for the faith, make a defense for the hope that is in us and preach the word in and out of season.

So why don't Christians do this?  I have no idea.  Perhaps some don't know the Word of God as they should.  Perhaps they fear rejection by others.  I'm sure there are a lot of excuses, but the fact is, we need to get over ourselves and come to grips with the fact that to follow Christ is to be on the narrow road.  Be ready for the hatred that will no doubt come - if they hated Christ, they will hate us. (John 15:18). 

That said, I wanted to share the following Facebook message exchange which took place last week between me and a guy I know in real life.  We used to attend the same church, but really don't interact much anymore.  It's pretty self-explanatory, but here's the set up.  My friend, John Doe, had posted on his wall a short video of a very interesting looking, large, gnarly tree.  The wind was blowing through the branches, and it was just a neat thing to view.  Someone posted a comment about it being a "burning bush" moment.  And John Doe replied, "It was for me."  Another commentor said something like, "we need to be listening because we never know when God is speaking."  I replied with, "We can know EXACTLY when God is speaking because He's *already* spoken in his Word.  Read it.  Study it. Live it."  A couple of days later, my comment was gone.  I then posted on JD's wall asking him why he deleted my comment.   A few days later THAT post was gone.  I then sent him a private message, of which the entirety of the conversation follows:



Hi John Doe,


It seems an odd thing to me that someone I personally know would delete a perfectly scriptural comment I made, then go on to delete my post inquiring about why my original comment was deleted. I am truly puzzled over this, JD. Perhaps if you were a stranger, not so much, but a person I actually know? And one who claims the name of Christ, at that?
I don't summarily unfriend "real life people" from my friend list because I find it rude, but since it appears that you do not wish to interact with me, I will go ahead and do that. It will probably save any further frustration on both our parts.

I do pray, JD, that you might see it as a profitable endeavor to stand firm and defend your convictions on spiritual matters. If you disagreed with me about what I orignally wrote to that guy on your tree video post, then engage me. It is always worthwhile to discuss the things of God. In the same manner, it would seem only the polite thing to do to address someone's question. Especially a fellow believer in Christ. I am sorry that you felt deleting my posts was the best course of action.


Gayla


His reply to me:


Gayla,

I will weigh your comments and consider your opinion.

The person that made a comment on my wall may not even be a Christian and I was shocked that he was willing to even acknowledge God. I didn't want him to see you reprimand him about his comment and turn him off of God. If you know him personally and he is a believer then please accept my apologies for taking your comment off my wall; however, there are many non Christians that I have as friends on Facebook and I want them to see God's love and Grace.

I try to stay as far away from religion and judgmental attitudes as possible. I know who I am in God and do not receive anything you said about me.
I love you and Roger and you both are in my prayers. May God richly bless you in all you do to Glorify his name.


JD

 I then replied with:


Hi JD,

Thanks so much for replying. I've been going back and forth with myself as to whether or not I should respond. Finally decided to do so.

No, I don't know the guy who posted on your video. Far from reprimanding him, though, I was pointing him to the Scriptures, which is EXACTLY where he needs to be looking for God! His comment on your post was something to the effect that (we should be alert b/c) we never know when God is speaking. I merely informed him that we can be quite assured that God is speaking since He's *already* spoken in his Word - everything we need for life and godliness is contained therein. So if he is, indeed, an unbeliever, Holy Writ is where he needs to be seeking God, if his heart has been stirred to do so. He won't find God in a tree or a "burning bush." If he did, he would quickly find that God is a consuming fire. He won't find God in his mind where He *thinks* God is imparting some special, personal revelation.

I know what you mean about having unbelivers on your FB friend list; so do I. And I, too, want them to see the love and grace of God. I don't think, however, that we can present a "one-sided" picture of Him. In other words, there is no experiencing the love, grace or mercy of God without first having an understanding of the God Who is just and that His wrath is upon sinners who are without Christ. Or, without coming to grips with the fact that we are wretched, depraved sinners in need of a Savior. The message of the gospel is 'repent and believe,' not "ask Jesus into your heart and 'make Him' your Lord and Savior." Certainly Christ is not a groovy accoutrement that we merely add on to our already groovy lives, or that "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." These are NOT the gospel.
I'm not sure what you mean by you "don't receive anything I said about you." I don't see that I said anything *about* you. I only encouraged you to stand firm on the truth of the Scriptures and to contend for the faith.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on so. I just didn't think I could let it go at that. I'm always open for discussion, because as I said above, I think it is profitable to dig into the Scriptures and discuss. Iron sharpens iron.


For Christ's sake,
Gayla



Now here' where it really gets weird, as he replies to me with:

Google Johari's window and tell me your thoughts.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window

Introspective- look this up and let me know your thoughts.


Regards,


Now, I'm completely baffled by this.  I don't know whether I should take it as a personal affront or if he was referring to the unsaved guy who commented on his FB wall.  I'm completely stunned, so I reply:

JD,

Without any context, it's difficult to ascertain what it is you're getting at. Or what it is you're looking for from me. This is too vague and doesn't relate to what I said in my earlier message.

I can only say that psychological tools that point us to "self" and that cause unwarranted suppositions have nothing at all to do with the Kingdom of God, or a discussion of Scripture, or proclaiming the gospel of grace.

(We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:5)

If you'd care to be more specific in addressing the issue, I'm more than willing to read. If not, then we should leave well enough alone.


Then he replies with a non-reply:


Just want to end by saying I love you and Rog. I pray God continues to bless you both. If I can ever help with anything, don't hesitate to call on me.

Blessings,



Continuing in utter disbelief at what I'd been reading (and unable to drop the matter), I reply with:

JD, I must admit that this is probably the most bizarre conversation I've ever had with someone who professes to be a Christian. You demonstrate an obvious reluctance to engage in meaningful discourse concerning the Word of God, and I don't get that at all. You then link me to a psychology tool with no explanation as to 'why' or what bearing it has on anything. Then just abruptly end things. Of course, it is certainly your prerogative to do so, but it is most disappointing that you refuse to undertake a profitable discussion.

As I said early on in my first messge, I do pray that you would see it as a worthy endeavor to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 1:3)



To which his final message to me was:

OK


I know, I know....I'm slow, but I did finally get the hint that JD didn't really want to engage in a substantive discussion about Scripture.  He didn't actually want to get to the heart of the matter.  I'm not sure what his end goal was, but it certainly wasn't anything rooted in Scripture, nor was it edifying, nor did it point me to Christ.  It's maddening, but it also grieves my heart that believers would engage (or not engage) in such a manner.  

Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. ~Psalm 31:24

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

R3VOLUTION WEAR




This is good stuff, people.  Not your normal, cheesy Christian fashion. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Prayer of King David

So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said,

"Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.  Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.  Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.  But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.  For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.  O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.  
Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You.  O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You."

Then David said to all the assembly, "Now bless the LORD your God." And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king.

~1 Chronicles 29:10-20


What a glorious extolment to the immutable character of God.  Transcendent, absolute and unrivalled from all eternity.  Sovereign over all creation. The earth, His footstool.  The only difference I see in this prayer as opposed to (what should be and so often is not) the prayer of the New Covenant church, is that the offerings David speaks of in this passage were given specifically for the builiding of the temple. (which his son, Solomon, built.) Because of Christ's work on the cross, the Holy Spirit of God now indwells individual believers. How marvelous is that!?


No words of mine could possibly say it more eloquently than Scripture itself.  So I will simply say, Amen and Amen.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Examining "Calvinism"

It’s been way too long since I’ve written anything, so I thought I’d make an attempt today. There are many things swirling around in my head, but I just hadn’t taken the time to organize them and get them down on paper…or computer. It’s a rather cold and rainy day here in north Texas – too cold for late spring. I *should* be studying for my exam, but I can’t seem to get into it.

I think I’ll begin (and probably end) with one of the main things that has been nagging at me lately, and that is the complete mischaracterization by many of this thing called, “Calvinism.” First of all, Calvinism is a NICKNAME – it is not, in and of itself, something to be taught. Calvinisim is the nickname for a systematic study of the Bible; it answers the question,”What does the whole of the Bible teach?” and then ‘systematizes’ or arranges the material. John Calvin wasn’t even a Calvinist, as he was long dead (1564) before the Synod of Dort formulated the “Five Points of Calvinism.”

In 1610, James (or Jacob) Arminius had just died and his biblical systematic theology was formulated into five main points, which became known as The Five Points of Arminianism (Arminianism). Briefly, those points are: 1) Free Will (or human ability), which posited that although man was affected by the fall of Adam, he was not totally incapable of choosing spiritual good; 2) Conditional Election, which taught that God knew/foresaw those who would respond to the gospel and, on that basis, ‘elected’ them for salvation; 3) Universal Redemption (general atonement) taught that Christ died to save all men, but His death was only ‘effectual’ for those who would choose to believe; 4) The Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration is limited by the human will, which means that His work could be resisted by the human heart; and 5) Falling from grace taught that a saved individual could ultimately fall from salvation. This is the logical outcome of a system that postulates man ‘chooses’ to be saved.

These Five Points were presented to the Synod of Dort in 1618, and the church was called to examine the teachings in light of the Scriptures. At the end of seven months, the synod could not reconcile this Arminian viewpoint with what was expounded in Holy Writ. To reaffirm the Reformation position expressed by Calvin, and to counter these five points, the Synod of Dort formulated their own ‘five points’ which became known as The Five Points of Calvinism. They are also set forth in the form of the acrostic, TULIP. T = Total Depravity – every area of man was affected by the Fall; sin affects the totality of man’s being – his will, mind, affections, etc, thereby rendering him UNABLE to ‘choose’ spiritual things (See Gen 6:5; Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 2:15; Eph 2:1; 2 Tim 2:25; Mark 4:11, 12); U = Unconditional Election – As a result of man’s being dead in sin and unable to appraise spiritual things, much less be inclined to God, He, before the foundation of the world chose a people for Himself and then saved them (See John 15:6; Rom 9:6-2; Eph 1:1-6; Acts 13:48). L = Limited Atonement (particular redemption) – Christ died to save a particular number of people, His sheep. He died to effectually and absolutely save sinners, not potentially save them, dependent upon THEIR choice of HIM (See John 17:9; Eph 1:4; Eph 5:25). I = Irresistible Grace – God’s calling upon the heart of a human being is irresistible in that it cannot be thwarted or frustrated. (See John 6:37-45; Rom 8:14; Gal 1:15; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 5:10).  P = Perseverance of the Saints – In complete opposition to the fifth point of Arminianism, this point posits that the believer’s salvation is secure – not because he secures himself, but because of God’s keeping power. HE causes His own to persevere to the end. (See John 6:39; John 10:28-29; Rom 5:10; Rom 8:27; Phil 1:6).

Now, this is by no means an exhaustive commentary on what is known as Calvinism.  There are enough passages cited, though, to get you started on your own study.  Go on...examine the Scriptures for yourself; see what they teach.  It's the straw man set ups and arguments that can become so frustrating.  "Calvinists only follow a man!"  "John Calvin was a murderer!"  Blech.  It just goes to show that lack of diligent study (laziness) and over-the-top emotionalism cloud peoples' judgments.  Actually, John Calvin and other reformers like Martin Luther reformed their soteriology, and that's about all they had time for.  They were still wrong with regard to some of the other teachings to which they continued to adhere.  As well, they were products of their century and their culture at the time, so they were imperfect people, as are we.  But they got salvation right.  Salvation - from beginning to end - is ALL of God.  It is initiated by God, it ends with God, and every part in between is of God.  By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  For the glory of God!   

Yours in grace,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wrong Assertions = False Teaching

Yeah, even when it's a church espousing it on their website.

From the Statement of Faith of a local church:

About Man...


We are created in the spiritual likeness or image of God. God gave us free will: we have the ability to choose to love as God loves, to choose to do right in the likeness of God's righteousness, and to choose to value what God values. God created us because He wants a family who will love Him because we want to love Him, and not because we have to love Him. The first man, Adam, chose to sin, and now every person lives in a marred creation with a marred spiritual nature. As a result, every person will eventually choose to sin and subsequently become separated from God.
Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3:1-24; Psalm 8:3-6; John 4:24; Ephesians 1:4-6;Romans 3:23

This is, by far, one of the worst (unbiblical) descriptions of the nature of man that I've ever read.  No. No. No.  Wrong.  Uh-uh.  This is NOT what the Bible teaches, so let's take critical look at it.

We were created in God's image.  Correct.  Unfortunately though, I'm afraid the rest of it crashes and burns. 

God gave us free will?  Where do they get this?  None of the passages they cited support this notion; and the reason for that is that there ARE no passages that support this notion.  We have the ability to choose to love as God loves?  To choose to do right in the likeness of God's righteousness? (what does this even mean?) To choose to value what God values?  There's a lot of "choosing" going on here, but none of it's being done by God, who in reality, is the only one with the right and ability to "choose."  HE is the Sovereign, HE is the Creator, and HE is Ruler of the universe, the One declaring the end from the beginning.    What do they think the meaning of sovereign is anyway? Isa 46:9-10

And, what is "free will?"  Most people tend to mistakenly refer to it as the "free" or unhindered ability to make spiritual choices concerning God, and matters such as salvation, apart from any outside influencing factors.  This is known as libertrian free will, but no such concept exists in Scripture.  God's revealed word does indeed speak to the will of man, but certainly not in a favorable manner:    

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ~Gen 6:5

"...I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done." ~Gen 8:21

'But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed. ~Jer 5:23 (There are actually many passages that address the stubbornness and stiffneckedness of God's people, Israel)

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? ~Jer 17:9

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."  ~Rom 3:9-12

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. ~Rom 8:5-8

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. ~1 Cor 2:14

Well, these are but a very few passages that speak to the nature of man - that of being inherently sinful.  In this sinful state, man has not the slightest ability to 'choose' to please God or to do anything that God requires of him.  This brings me to the next point of the SoF, which I've taken a little out of order from how they wrote it.  As a result of possessing this sin nature, I submit that man is far, far more than "marred."  Man is flawed, yes, but using biblical language, man is, in fact, spiritually deadDead in sin.  Ephesians 2:1-3 describes sinful human beings as dead in trespasses, even as children of wrath:  "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." 

Man's default nature is a sinful one with a bent toward rebellion and disobedience against God.  As a result, the only 'choices' unregenerate humans make are those in accordance with that nature - those which will please the flesh, not God.  Man is bound by and a slave to sin.   "...knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;"  ~Rom 6:6 and "For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness." ~Rom 6:20  
See all of Romans 6

I can hear it now - "so you're saying we're just puppets," to which I reply, let's use biblical language when talking about biblical things, and the Bible doesn't employ the term, puppet.  However, it does assert that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ, and there's nothing in between - no middle position.  If you are a redeemed believer in Christ, you have been bought with a price and you are not your own.  1 Cor 6:19-20

My, this is turning into a very long post for such a short little paragraph, but boy is it ever chocked full of error.  OK, two more things real quick-like.  "As a result [of this marred nature], every person will eventually choose to sin and subsequently become separated from God."  No!  We are born in sin; our nature is sinful.  "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— " ~Rom 5:12 and "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." ~Psalm 51:5  Because of the one man, Adam, a sin nature preexists a person being born. Also, the sin nature is one of self-centeredness and self-focus, and it doesn't take a baby any length of time to demand the attention be on him to meet his needs.  One needn't have to commit murder for his inborn sinful nature to be exposed.  The Bible assumes separation from God; there's no 'subsequently' becoming separated from God. 

God created us because He wants a family who will love Him because we want to love Him, and not because we have to love Him.  Man, I wish they had written this as an example of what NOT to say, because this is horrific theology.  Have they not read the Bible?  God is about God.  EVERYTHING He does He does for His own glory and for the renown of His Name!!!!!!!!  God doesn't need anything!  He IS everthing - and we need Him.  Consider Acts 17:24-28:

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'

God, in His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace and before the foundation of the world, decided of His own accord to create a universe and to set His love on a people as a gift for His Son.   He then set His plan in motion, and in real time redemptive history is playing out.  Man falling was ordained by God; separation from Him - ordained; sending His Son, Jesus Christ to die in our place - ordained; His choosing a people to be adopted as His children - ordained. Eph 1

And considering I was His enemy initially, I THANK GOD that He didn't leave me to my own sinful, wicked self to somehow or another develop a love for Him and then 'choose' Christ.  The passages I cited above prove that would have been an impossibility.  THANK GOD His will is superior to mine and that he overrode my "free will."  THANK GOD He made me love Him, for I would have never done so on my own.

It's very simple.  ANY teaching that runs contrary to the revealed doctrine in the Scriptures is false.  And it matters not that it's well-intended, or that it sounds really, really spiritual, or that's it's a tiny paragraph in statement of faith.  Paul says in Gal 1:8-9  -  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursedNo doubt Paul is quite serious here as he repeats himself twice.  We would do well to heed the admonition.  Let us endeavor to be diligent to study and KNOW what the Word of God says that we might be equipped to discern what is false.


Yours in grace,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Salvation By Grace Now on YouTube

Now you can listen to Jim McClarty of Grace Christian Assembly on YouTube!  Just click here for short, but meaty, teachings. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

God's Sovereignty

Well, I logged on this morning to compose a post and discovered that today is my 'blogiversary.'  I've been blogging for six years!  Wow, time has flown by quickly.  I've really enjoyed recording my thoughts over the years since I'm not much of a paper journaler.  I do hope to maintain the interest and wherewithall to keep it up because, for one thing, it's therapeutic. :)

Now on to my original post...   I remember like it was yesterday although it was in the fall of 2004.  You can read the longer versions here and here.   But the substance is this: God, in His infinite mercy and grace, made Himself known to me.  He removed the blinders and allowed to understand Who He is and who I am before Him - that I was (am) a wretched sinner in need of a Savior.  He rescued me and made me a new creation in Christ. 

I distinctly remember how my yearly Bible reading for 2005 was altogether different than in previous years.  I could SEE God's sovereignty.  I saw His hand of providence on every single page of Scripture - He has ordained and is orchestrating every event in human history.  I 'got it,' as I was reading with entirely new eyes.  A new focus.  A new perspective - a God-centered one as opposed to one that was me-centered for so long.  It was exciting and it remains so.  I just can't seem to get enough of the rich beauty of His precous Word.  

While I can't record in one post every verse pertaining to God's sovereignty, I thought it would be an interesting endeavor to jot down a sample from every book of the Bible.  It serves as a reminder to me that He alone rules and reigns over His universe.  Here goes....

God created - Gen 1:1
God sent - Ex 3:10
God commanded - Lev 17:2
God blessed - Num 6:27
God drove out - Deut 33:27  
God delivered - Josh 10:19
God raised up - Judg 2:16
God redeemed - Ruth
God closed - 1 Sam 1:5
God struck - 2 Sam 12:15
God gave - 1 Kings 4:29
God warned - 2 Kings 17:13
God established - 1 Chron 17:11
God smote - 2 Chron 21:18
God graced - Ezra 11:8
God admonished - Neh 9:30
God providentially acted - Esther
God allowed - Job 1:12
God preserved - Psalm 37:28
God rewarded - Prov 13:13
God appointed - Eccl 3:1
God declared - Isa 48:3
God spoke - Jer 35:17
God caused - Lam 3:4
God judged - Eze 18:30
God willed - Dan 4:35
God rejected -Hos 4:6
God relented - Joel 2:13
God withheld - Amos 4:7
God cut off - Obad 1:10
God answered - Jonah 2:2
God cast - Micah 7:19
God avenged - Nahum 1:2
God marched - Hab 3:12
God exulted - Zeph 3:17
God overthrew - Haggai 2:22
God purposed - Zech 8:14
God prepared - Malachi 4:3


Jesus began - Matt 4:17
Jesus healed - Mark 3:10
Jesus taught - Luke 15
Jesus became flesh - John 1:18
Jesus resurrected - Acts 1:22
God foreknew/predestined/called/justified/glorified - Romans 8:29-30  (Praise Him!)
Christ bought - 1 Cor 6:20
Christ controls - 2 Cor 5:14
Christ set free - Gal 5:1 
God chose - Eph 1:4
Christ obeyed - Phil 2:8
Christ rescued - Col 1:13
God sanctifies - 1 Thess 5:23
Christ comforts - 2 Thess 2:17
Christ strengthens - 1 Tim 1:12
God grants - 2 Tim 2:25
God's grace appeared - Titus 2:11
Christ orders - Phm 8
Christ authored - Heb 12:2 
Christ promised - James 1:2
Christ suffered - 1 Pet 4:1
God destroys - 2 Pet 3:12
God loved - 1 John 4:19
God gives peace - 2 John 3
God is good - 3 John 11
Christ is able - Jude 24
Christ bounds - Revelation 20:2,3   




—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
 1 Timothy 6:15


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exposing More False Teaching

The more I listen the more grieved I become. So I guess the answer is to quit listening – and I will - right after attempting to warn the saints again. Over time, I have definitely heard enough to be convinced that what is coming out of  is this area church is wrong, wrong, wrong, and it’s time to stop allowing myself to take it in – even if it is under the banner of, “I need to keep up with what’s going on so I can intelligently speak to it.”  It is simply unwise to feed on even the occasional diet of errant teaching.  This is not to say that some sort of true statement isn’t ever uttered, but unfortunately it is quickly diluted into something barely resembling biblical truth.  The overarching proclamation from leadership, and invited heretics such as Creflo Dollar and Bill Hybels, is a man-centered, self-focused, sub-biblical, thinly veiled (sometimes) prosperity gospel. Perhaps this should come as no surprise from a church with the catch phrase, “we’re all about people.” (emphasis mine)

The message coming from the pulpit on Jan 15 (Healed) left me reeling in anger and disbelief at what I was hearing and is what prompted me to write this article. I will say again that it truly saddens me to know people who are apparently buying into this stuff, so it is with a genuine concern for them (you) that I am compelled to expose it. Please be diligent to study the nearly 40% of the New Testament that addresses false teaching/teachers. ~Do Not Be Deceived~ Study Galatians, study 1 & 2 Timothy, study Titus, 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, and Jude so that you will be equipped to discern what is being taught - by anyone. We simply must (by command) filter any and all teaching through the revealed Word of God, for it is the place where God has spoken, and it's the straight stick by which everything else is measured. Note, also, that any teaching is counted false any time it contradicts sound doctrine. Whether such teaching is intentional or ‘sincere’ or really, really spiritual sounding, or not, is beside the point - if it runs contrary to orthodoxy found in Holy Writ, it is wrong, which renders it false.  Period.

Galatians 1:6-9 - "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be  accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"  These are strong words from the apostle Paul and we would do well to heed them.

I would advise anyone reading to listen to the above referenced sermon with a discerning ear and draw your own conclusions after testing it against Scripture.  I believe, though, the entire message is anything but doctrinally sound.  Time constraints limit me to focusing on only one part of the message so it will be the part that most set me on edge.  But first, a sidebar:  While 'topical' preaching/teaching isn't inherently wrong or sinful, it can become a slippery slope because so much of the time it isn't done well at all.  The customary M.O. for those who teach topically is to pick a subject about which they already have a preconceived notion, then proceed to flip through the Bible 'cherry picking' verses that seemingly support their presupposition. Most of the time, in doing this, context is left by the wayside, and without proper context, you could almost prove any position you desired.  Robert Morris doesn't disappoint in this area.

In his Healed message, Pastor Morris strung a number of verses together from both the Old and New Testaments to answer the question, "does God want us healed, or does God want us sick?"  You'll have to listen to the entire message to glean the full context, but starting at around the 11:20 mark, he said that there are some "excesses" with regard to physical healing that don't line up with Scripture, "One [excess] is that God can heal everyone but He chooses to heal who He will.  He chooses to heal a few people but He doesn't choose to heal other people (voice emphasis, Pastor Morris).  Here's the problem with that: it places the blame on God if a person doesn't get healed."  THIS, claims Morris, is an "excess."  [The second excess he addresses is that of blaming the sick person's 'lack of faith' if he/she isn't healed, and with this I would agree.]

The problem with Pastor Morris' problem with blaming God is that it demonstrates his lack of understanding the full scope of the sovereignty of The Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe!  I would further suggest that the use of the word, 'blame,' isn't a fair (or biblial) choice, as it conjures up a negative connotation - nobody wants to blame God for anything, now do they?  "Blame is from the devil," he explains.  "Any doctrine or any dogma that begins to put blame is not from God." What exactly is the answer to why some people aren't healed?  According to Pastor Morris, it is because, "We live in a fallen world." So then .... the fallen world is to blame, and it's the fallen world's fault when people aren't healed!  Huh???  The fallen world has now been given more authority than God Himself!  See how that logic goes?  Of course we live in a fallen world, but this is non answer, not to mention an unbiblical conclusion.  Did not Job say, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (2:10)  Or what about Exodus 4:6 - The LORD furthermore said to him, "Now put your hand into your bosom." So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow.  Who caused Moses' hand to become leprous?  God or the fallen world? 

The cherry-picked verses cited in this message had to do with Jesus' healings of ALL people and ALL of their diseases as well as how we've received our healings because of the cross (although I don't know he can think this is possible since he admits that some people aren't healed?).  Here's the problem, though.  He failed to mention any verses that opposed his position that blaming God is an "excess;" and it only takes one passage to render untrue the things he asserted.  Here's one:  "But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."  (Luke 4:25-27)  As you can see, God chose to meet the needs of only one widow, and He chose to cleanse only one leper.  

The bottom line is this:  God does choose whom He will heal and whom He will not (in this earthly life).  God is the Creator - thereby the Owner - of this universe and everything in it, and He does as He pleases in all things for His own purposes and for His own glory.  It's just that simple. Furthermore, this is the very definition of what it means to be sovereign.  God is The Sovereign and He is the One in control.  This self-focused, 'me'-centered, God-exists-to-do-our bidding teaching that infiltrates the church today is pure poison, the results of which are nothing short of damning.  We must all be diligent to study the Word as it is written, taking from it the intended meanings and not imposing onto it what we we'd like it to mean.  Playing fast and loose with Scripture is a dangerous proposition.  

The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, is quoted as saying, "Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right."  Very befitting, I think, for this particular sermon, as it sadly is for the  majority of pathetic messages being passed off as Bible teaching.  They are anything but.  Much (most) of what is being boldly and confidently taught today does, at times, "sound" right and definitely sounds ├╝ber spiritual to the undiscerning ear, but in reality runs completely contrary to sound doctrine.  Be diligent, beloved, to study the Word, which is the only source of truth, so that you are able to discern right from wrong and right from almost right.  

Yours in grace for His glory,