Thursday, 19 November 2015

Throw Out the Bondwoman and her Son

This is one of those sermons....one that I almost turned off because the speaker's voice "turned me off", however I was prevented from turning it off, and I listened, and I heard, and I was so very blessed by this message. The past week or so I've been dialoguing with Seventh Day Adventists, if you don't know who or what they are about, do a careful search about them and you will find that they are a heretical cult that tries to present itself as a harmless Christian denomination. It is not. They teach heresy, the worst twisting of scriptures to support a dead false prophetess Ellen G. White. Anyway, I'm getting side tracked. This sermon was like a refreshing cup of cool water after having the life sucked out of me by these heretics that refuse to see the falseness of their religion.

Please take the next 45 minutes to be blessed by this sermon, one that I know I will have to revisit often.



Monday, 26 October 2015

What Are You Celebrating This Week?

Today in remembrance of what October 31 really should bring to mind to Christians, I'm posting a video series by R.C. Sproul. I hope everyone who happens to come by this blog will submit to the wisdom to put this valuable oil in their lamps. The embedded video will go on to each successive video (there are 10 in this series) or you can look at each in your own time by going to this link:

Luther and the Reformation






Also check out this link: Reformation Day

Thursday, 15 October 2015

How Free Are We Really?

It's been an incredibly busy couple of months including yard work, vacation, more yard work, scanning family albums, more yard work, you get the idea...anyway, scanning photos from the family albums has afforded me the time to listen to many sermons. I've had the pleasure the past few days to feast on God's word with the able companionship of Pastor R.C. Sproul. I'm not in 100% agreement with him on all things, however this topic isn't one of those things.

The matter of free will often comes up in Christian social media conversations...how free are we? If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed...but prior to salvation, were you free to choose the Lord's way over the love you had for yourself and this world?

I love what Dr. Sproul asks about grace: Is it an absolute prerequisite to salvation OR is grace just simply an aid?




Thursday, 1 October 2015

Believer's Baptism

Number 5 on the list of things that need to happen in order to be saved is the need of baptism:


There are many views on how this needs to be accomplished; infant baptism, adults only baptism by immersion, baptism by sprinkling, to name a few. I will give my view on this issue....and will try to make it as brief as I can without (hopefully) oversimplifying it. And I hope you will do your own research on this complex topic by using the Bible as your source main source of information.

Let's first begin with reviewing the above Bible verses (all Bible verses in this post will be from the ESV version):

Matthew 28:19-20  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Mark 16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:38  And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.




Acts22:16  And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'

We can also add to the above list the passages which tell of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist even though He being perfect needed no forgiveness of sins....and there is this one with Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch:

Acts 8:36-37  And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?"   And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 

There are the exceptions to the rule, such as the thief that hung on the cross beside Jesus who received no baptism (that we know of, the ritual of baptism was already in use at the time of Christ). Some take this to mean that the water baptism is a physical type for the spiritual effect of having our sins washed away by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 1John 5:4-8 
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. 
 And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. 
And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 
 For there are three that testify: 
the Spirit
and the water 
and the blood; 
and these three agree.


My own view on this is that water baptism is necessary as part of the believer's testimony of the truth of his conversion. Whether the thief on the cross was or was not baptized in water is irrelevant to your and my circumstances. We are not hanging on a literal wooden cross which makes it impossible to perform such a simple task in obedience to following Jesus. Some say it must be in "the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19) some say in the name of Jesus only (Acts 2:38), the important matter is that you confess your sins and be baptized in the sacrifice of God in Christ for the remission of sins, with the realization of the incredible price Jesus paid in order to wash those sins away having died to self, being born anew in the Spirit, and then beginning a new life that is alive in Christ.


I hope this little series on salvation basics was helpful, but please do your own research, read the above verses in their full context by reading the entire books of the Bible carefully. There is so much there that cannot be summed up in a blog post. I pray that you study to show yourselves approved, and receive the full blessings from seeking the Lord with all your hearts.

Monday, 7 September 2015

To Confess Christ the Son of God





I've been using the above as a springboard in examining the steps that need to be a part of the salvation process. I am not one to rigidly hold to formulas in regards to what needs to happen to be saved. However there are essential ingredients that need to be there in order for it to truly be true. Just as you need certain ingredients to make a meatloaf (for instance) you cannot use the ingredients to make a cake and then call it a meatloaf. The above outline is the skeleton, the basic framework of what needs to happen in order to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus.

In the previous installments I've looked at hearing the word, believing in Jesus, and repenting of sin. Now we will look at what is meant by confessing Christ.

I'll begin, as I did previously, with the verses mentioned in the outline:

Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV)
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.



Acts 8:37  (KJV)
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.


and to these I'll add:

Romans 10:9-10  (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.


But what does it mean to confess Jesus? Is it a one time event at baptism that you shout "I believe in Jesus for the remission of my sins!!!" and have that be the magic incantation that "gets you in"? No. Yet that is what I often see. If you continue the above Matthew passage, it gives us another clue about what this is talking about.

Matthew 10:34-40 (KJV)
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.   For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.   And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.   He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.   And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.   He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.   He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

The confession that is spoken about in the Bible is the kind that will cause people who hate Jesus to also hate you, and if you decide that your relationships with family and friends are more valuable to you than risking those relationships, knowing that you might lose that bond of love and friendship with those persons and if you would rather keep your earthly relationships and your earthly rewards rather than speak up the warnings given in God's word, you have decided against confessing Jesus.

True worship and true confession can come only through the One who makes all things true. Without Jesus transforming power none of us could tell the truth because the Bible says:

1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

We must be beggars at Jesus feet asking Him for those things that are needful for our salvation. He will turn no one away who asks things of Him that are in accordance with His will.

Matthew 7:7-8  (KJV)
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:   For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.


James 1:5 (KJV)
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.



1 John 5:14-15  (KJV)
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:   And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

The next and final installment of this series will be on the topic of the believer's baptism. I hope you  will be able to join me next time.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Much Needed Message for Today

Last night I listened to this awesome sermon. It starts out slowly. It is my impression (I may be wrong) that this topic is one that is very different from his usual topics. The first 10 minutes of the sermon, it seems to me, is given to prepare his congregation for this new message, in the attempt to shore up his listeners so they will not turn away from the severity of this subject. He wants his listeners to know that he has given this topic a lot of research, and tears, and devoted study of God's word, to learn the whole council of God on a matter that has caused much damage to many people, and caused many in the church to abandon what the Bible has to say about it. It is approximately an hour and twenty minutes long. I hope you will take the time to listen:


It's Evening in Sodom from Grace Chapel on Vimeo.

Repentance



Have you noticed that not many pastors preach on the topic of repentance anymore? Repentance has gone out of fashion, true humility is out and pride is in. Did God approve of that idea?

Luke 3:2-9 ... the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;   As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.  Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?   Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (ESV)


Acts 17:30-31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (ESV)


Luke 15:4-10  "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'  Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

We've all heard or read the parable of the prodigal son. The son foolishly squandered everything his father gave to him, until realizing his foolishness, turned back to his father in humble submission asking for forgiveness, and everything was restored to him. But what about the other son, the one that "didn't need" repentance? He always remained with the father, did what he was told to do, was possibly happy that his good for nothing loser brother was gone and now all attention could go to himself. He got angry when his brother returned, rather than rejoice with his father. Let's take a look:

Luke 15:28-32  But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"

Pride is a terrible thing, hatred and anger is at the root of it, and Jesus said he who is angry with his brother is guilty of murder. Does that not require repentance? Does that not call for humility before a holy God who can cast people into outer darkness (no vision) and fire (feelings of torment) forever? None of us are perfect, we must all approach the Lord in humility asking forgiveness for the things we have done, for the sorrow we have caused him and our fellow men. 

Have you repented of your sins before the feet of Jesus? 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Believing Jesus






(all scriptural texts in this post are from the King James Version)



Last post explored the first step, hearing the word, in the above list of steps of salvation. The second step according to the above is to believe Jesus.

John 8:24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 


Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 


 A third passage is one that comes to mind in regards to this step:

Mark 9:23-24  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.   And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

We are dependent on the Lord for everything (even when we fail to realize it), for the air we breath, the sun bringing warmth to our planet, plants and animals for food, our very existence even depends on Jesus. When this world changed with the fall of Eve and Adam, a breach appeared in the relationship between God and man. Now God had to seek for Adam and Eve because they hid themselves from Him, something had changed. When God called out to him Adam answered God saying that he was afraid because of his nakedness. Fear is the opposite of faith and trust. God casts them out of the beautiful Garden of Eden into a life fraught with danger and pain and sorrow, but He also gives them hope, the hope of overcoming evil, the promise of crushing it's head, but evil will still bruise Eve's offspring's heel.

Jesus is that offspring.

We all have fears, fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of the dark, fear of public speaking, fear of death....the things you fear might not be the same things that I fear however we all have fear of something. Fear stems from our broken relationship with our Creator. The Apostle John said "Perfect love casts out all fear"

 1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Let's look at that passage:


1John 4:15-21  

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 
 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
 God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
 because as he is, so are we in this world.  
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: 
because fear hath torment. 
He that feareth is not made perfect in love.   
We love him, because he first loved us.  
 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: 
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, 
how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  
And this commandment have we from him, 
That he who loveth God love his brother also.



To believe Jesus, we need to seek Him continually until we find Him, even asking Him to help our unbelief because without His help we are helpless. Jesus loves us. He loves us so much He laid His life down for us. He took the worst the devil could dish out to Him, bruising His heel for us. Our unbelief comes from our broken relationship with God. Only He can repair it, and He has! By the cross. He poured out His life for us. He threw Himself on the grenade that was meant to kill us, and took the punishment for us. His perfect love removes and heals our fear, replacing it with trust, a loving trust in Him seeing what He has done for us, and that love and trust then goes out from us to others, as He has forgiven us we can now forgive others, as He has laid down His life for us we also can lay down our lives for others.

I pray that you will find that rest, that perfect peace, that removal of the fears that beset you, in that perfect love that Jesus has for all who truly come to Him.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Back to Basics


(Bible passages in this post taken from the King James Version)


Sometimes we need to revisit the basics, especially when many pastors are, for the most part, not teaching it anymore.

 Today I'll touch on #1, hearing the word.

The passage that Romans 10:17 comes from is talking about reaching out to Israel, and the fact that other nations are actually being blessed by the fact that Israel rejected the Messiah, and that the Lord will use it to provoke Israel to jealousy.

 Romans 10:13-21  
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
 and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
 and how shall they hear without a preacher?  
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? 
as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!   
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. 
For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?   
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  
But I say, Have they not heard? 
Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.  But I say, Did not Israel know? 
First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.  
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.  
But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. 

Although I agree with the above tidy little synopsis of what needs to happen in order to be saved, there is much, much more that is going on in the process that goes beyond human ability to perform. Not all who hear the truth receive it, and yet all who hear it receive it with gladness. It is  a paradox.

Act 28:26-28  Saying, Go unto this people, and say, 
Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; 
and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:   
For the heart of this people is waxed gross,
 and their ears are dull of hearing, 
and their eyes have they closed; 
lest they should see with their eyes,
 and hear with their ears, 
and understand with their heart, 
and should be converted, 
and I should heal them.   
Be it known therefore unto you, 
that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, 
and that they will hear it.

There it is again, the emphasis of the truth spreading to other nations as a result of Israel's neglecting to receive it, having hardened their hearts to the act of hearing from the Lord. Something else that is given in this passage is the fact that there are two types of hearing: 1. hearing that hears and 2. hearing that doesn't hear. 

There is a supernatural element (and let me be clear when I use the word "supernatural" it isn't in a new age magical sense of the word) that involves a proper searching, a heart that is humbled before God receives from Him, whereas a haughty, self-righteous, self-promoting, self-centered heart hardens itself against what God says, and even though persons with hard hearts hear the words, those words do nothing to enrich those prideful, selfish, hardened persons hearing them. We have all been there haven't we? I know that I have been there. There have been several occasions that people reached out to me with God's word to me, and those words fell on my deaf ears that couldn't hear Him, couldn't penetrate my hard heart. But when the Lord did it, I wasn't even looking for Him at the time, yet He softened my heart to hear a family that reached out to me in love. He opened my deaf ears to hear for the first time the words that I in my worldly wisdom had scoffed at. Yes, it was supernatural, it was a miracle, but it was such a quiet one, one that had no magical, dazzling, spectacular special effects to bring everyone around to gasping in excited exclamations of wonder. It was a very quiet and humble miracle, just like all other miracles that humbly meet us every day, the ones we for the most part take for granted. 

With eyes to see and ears to hear, the commonplace, the every day things, take on special significance of the many wonderful blessings, miracles, that Jesus performs for us on a continual basis, by which He sustains our lives...until it is time to go to be with Him, or, for those who have not received, have continued to harden their hearts, have continued to insist they know better than the God of the Bible, those will be eternally without Him, only having their own tormenting thoughts to keep them company throughout eternity.   

We can go back and forth, and round and round, whether it ends up being God's fault that many never hear in the saving sense of the word, or whether it is man's fault (false teachers not getting the true word out and rebellious hearts rejecting the truth when it is correctly presented) and I have settled it in my own mind that God knows perfectly what He is doing and He doesn't make mistakes. Man does make mistakes, every day, anyone who does not agree with that fact is very deluded indeed. So in my humble estimation of who is at fault, I would never be so presumptuous as to say it is God who is to be blamed for people going to hell. 

Another factor that needs bringing up in the matter of hearing the truth is prayer. We need to pray for our unsaved loved ones, friends, family, and even strangers who cross our paths. Many pray for frivolous things, or even things that are  not frivolous such as the health and temporal well-being of others, which may or may not receive an answer to the petitioner's liking. Much better to pray for something of eternal significance; the salvation of the lost. That is something of eternal value, all the rest will eventually fade and die anyway. When our prayers for the lost together with the true word going out to them reach the lost via the Holy Spirit of God, a revival of God's quiet and humble miracle of salvation can ignite in the lives of the hearers, having their ears opened by the true and powerful living God, to whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Next time I'll tackle #2.











Tuesday, 11 August 2015

It's All About Jesus











Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him;
for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:5-7 (KJV)

Humility is a funny thing,  the minute you think you have it you don't. My husband likes to quip "I'm humble, and I'm proud of it!".

I recently saw a post on Facebook by a gentleman who is a somewhat famous Christian performer, a singer/songwriter, who went on and on about how he isn't as wonderful as everyone keeps telling him that he is, about how terrible he is, how he's done things that caused him to lose friends, things he's embarrassed to talk about, loathsome even, and that he's wanted to commit suicide but hasn't because he's too much of a coward and doesn't want to face the Lord who would then chastise him for having cut short his life, a gift from God which only God has the right to begin and end. All the things he said were correct with what we ought to think about ourselves when our focus is on self.

These things, although true, ought to be (for the most part unless giving encouragement to someone who thinks they cannot be saved because of this or that sin in their life) a private condition that we have between ourselves and the Lord, and as we cast all of these cares on Him it is He who takes care of these things, and will exalt us in the proper way and the proper time. I read many of the comments this young man received in response to his posting. Predictably many  of them said "You are awesome" and "Amen" and some talked about the suicide of a loved one. The focus was still wrong, on self, not on Jesus.

Our walk with Jesus does cause us to reflect on our sinful nature, to realize the price He paid to save us, and thereby live a life that glows with the gratitude of receiving grace that is undeserved. When the focus is me, it pulls me down and back into thinking about the things the flesh wants, and all the trouble that it gets me, and when I get pulled down enough and feel more and more terrible (the "slough of despond" in the book  Pilgrim's Progress), the Lord reminds me that He saved me from all of that stuff.

I do appreciate the fact that this performer wants to confess his sin at a time when most want to pretend sin doesn't exist, or that it is all a state of mind and that we can choose whatever we want as long as we ourselves are happy, making that the only thing that matters. However let us instead keep the focus on Jesus and what He has done for us. He has forgiven our sin when we confessed it and are truly humbled by what we know to be true about ourselves.

It really doesn't matter what other people say and think about us and the social medias are full of people saying things that they may or may not mean. What matters is Jesus, and Him alone. As John the Baptist said: "He must increase and I must decrease".




Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Seeing Contradictions Where There Are None

Great sermon by R.C. Sproul, in this sermon he asks the question: "Why (in our natural state) do we hate what God says?" Great question, one that he touches on but requires years of personal reflection and study (and to study this honestly one has to submit to the Lord in careful Bible study, daily study) to answer for yourself. In seeing what atheists and "former Christians" amuse themselves with saying, I see right away where and how they misuse what the scriptures say. Why do they do that? Interesting question. Somewhat of a side note on what R.C.Sproul mentions in this sermon is what is told us about Ahab, and I want to zero in particularly what happens to Ahab at the end of his life, and how it meshes with what the true prophets of God had told him would happen about his death. One prophet had mentioned that the dogs would lap up his blood at a pool where he had someone put to death so he could steal his property. Another prophet of God told him he would die in battle. It seems like a contradiction to the untrained eye...but how it plays out in real life solves this in the fact that Ahab does indeed die in battle, his blood pours out all over the chariot he is riding in, so his servants take the chariot and wash out all Ahab's blood at the very pool where he (Ahab) had shed the blood because of greed and covetousness. No Contradictions, both true.

Anyway, I hope you take the time to listen to this amazing sermon:

Friday, 1 May 2015

Our Fractured Understanding



Regarding words appearing over this blog post: I don't know how this happened, and am not able to get rid of it, however if you click on the title for this post (at the top) it won't show up and you will be able to read this article without that which hinders a portion of this offering. Sorry about the annoyance.

2Kings 8:7-15 (ESV)
 Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, "The man of God has come here,"  the king said to Hazael, "Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD through him, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'"  So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camels' loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, "Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?'" And Elisha said to him, "Go, say to him, 'You shall certainly recover,' but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die."  

 And he (Elisha) fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he (Hazael) was embarrassed. 

And the man of God wept
.  
 And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" 

He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women."  

And Hazael said, "What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Elisha answered, "The LORD has shown me that you are to be king over Syria."   

Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him, "What did Elisha say to you?" 

And he answered, "He told me that you would certainly recover."   But the next day he took the bed cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. 

And Hazael became king in his place.

I read this passage a few days ago in my daily Bible readings. As I read this (I've read this before but I think I got tangled up in the various kings and battles and names and somehow I didn't understand what what going on in this passage) , but as I read this a few days ago it struck me again that we often see things in "either/or" when God isn't limited in any way by our limited way of how we think things need to be fulfilled.

In the above passage Elisha says: "Go, say to him, 'You shall certainly recover,' but the LORD has shown me that he shall certainly die."  

Now I would interpret that to mean that Elisha is telling this messenger to lie to the king, and indeed as I was reading this I wondered why Elisha would tell this man to lie. Then as I read further as to how the events unfolded I saw that isn't what Elisha was saying at all. The actual events fulfilled exactly what Elisha said would happen, yet it happened in a way that was completely unexpected.

I see from this that Hazael had evil motives against his king (of Syria) and Elisha perceived it. What you cannot see from this passage right away is the fact that the king was so sick that many thought he would die. Even the king himself thought he was going to die from his sickness, but the truth was that he would recover from his illness IF he was allowed to live....but Hazael used the opportunity to pretend that the king died of his sickness, because no one but himself and Elisha knew what transpired between them. I think Hazael became so evil toward Israel because he might have thought they could perceive his evil and didn't like being exposed. Evil enjoys remaining hidden. The truth always come to light.

You see similar events throughout the Bible, but an untrained eye, one that only looks for easy explanations provided by people such as atheists who haven't a clue, they destroy the context or jump to conclusions (like I just did before I realized my error) and never see beyond their initial errors thinking themselves to be so much smarter than "stupid brainwashed Christians".

There have been so many archeological evidences that prove the Bible's accuracy again and again, yet these poor "very super intelligent people" (said with tongue in cheek of course) want to hold on to their feeble misinterpretations as the only right way to read the scriptures. How sad.

I see more and more falling into these mistaken ways, thinking they are now free from having to believe in a true God and heaven and hell. Well, it doesn't matter whether you believe the truth of scripture or whether you want to believe your mistaken ideas...it won't change the truth of the matter....and one day you will see it in panoramic clarity whether you find yourself in the hell you've destined yourself for by rejecting God, or in heaven with God sharing His blessings forever. Time will surely reveal the truth to everyone.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Morning and Evening Readings...

My morning and evening bible readings (I've been reading the Bible in the mornings and at bedtime since beginning of the year) have been a blessing. I'm in the book of 1 Kings right now, and notice things I haven't noticed before. The Bible is such an amazing and miraculous book! I am so humbled by all of the wisdom and paradoxes that are laid out for us to ponder and pray about. Until this reading I thought that the widow who gave Elijah the bread (her last) got bread and oil for the rest of her life. On this reading I see that the reason she was out of bread was because of the severe drought, and Elijah told her that the flour and oil would replenish itself UNTIL it rained again:



1Ki 17:14  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 

https://wonderingpreacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/elijah-and-the-widow-of-zarephath-a-prayer/


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Marks of the true Church






See the entire Belgic Confession of Faith with scripture references here
See great article about the Arminian Conflict at the time of the Reformation here


From the Belcig Confession of Faith:

ARTICLE 29 – THE MARKS OF THE TRUE AND THE FALSE CHURCH
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of church.1 We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the church along with the good and yet are not part of the church, although they are outwardly in it.2 We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the church.
The true church is to be recognized by the following marks: It practises the pure preaching of the gospel.3 It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.4 It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.5 In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God,6 rejecting all things contrary to it7 and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head.8 Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.
Those who are of the church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour,9 flee from sin and pursue righteousness,10 love the true God and their neighbour11 without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works.12 Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life.13 They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.14
The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ.15 It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.16
These two churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1. Rev 2:9. 2. Rom 9:6. 3. Gal 1:8; 1 Tim 3:15. 4. Acts 19:3-5; 1 Cor 11:20-29. 5. Mat 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:4-5, 1 Cor 5:13; 2 Thes 3:6, 2 Thes 3:14; Titus 3:10. 6. John 8:47; John 17:20; Acts 17:11; Eph 2:20; Col 1:23; 1 Tim 6:3. 7. 1 Thes 5:21; 1 Tim 6:20; Rev 2:6. 8. John 10:14; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18. 9. John 1:12; 1 John 4:2. 10. Rom 6:2; Phil 3:12. 11. 1 John 4:19-21. 12. Gal 5:24. 13. Rom 7:15; Gal 5:17. 14. Rom 7:24-25; 1 John 1:7-9. 15. Acts 4:17-18; 2 Tim 4:3-4; 2 John 9. 16. John 16:2.
- See more at: http://www.scripturezealot.com/belgic-confession/#sthash.Ehm21icJ.dpuf
 Article 29: The Marks of the True Church

We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church -- for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of "the church."

We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it, even though they are physically there. But we are speaking of distinguishing the body and fellowship of the true church from all sects that call themselves "the church."

The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults.  In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head.  By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church -- and no one ought to be separated from it.

As for those who can belong to the church, we can recognize them by the distinguishing marks of Christians: namely by faith, and by their fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness, once they have received the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ.  They love the true God and their neighbors, without turning to the right or left, and they crucify the flesh and its works.

Though great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their lives, appealing constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of the Lord Jesus, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins, through faith in him.

As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on men, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.

These two churches are easy to recognize and thus to distinguish from each other.
ARTICLE 29 – THE MARKS OF THE TRUE AND THE FALSE CHURCH
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of church.1 We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the church along with the good and yet are not part of the church, although they are outwardly in it.2 We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the church.
The true church is to be recognized by the following marks: It practises the pure preaching of the gospel.3 It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.4 It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.5 In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God,6 rejecting all things contrary to it7 and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head.8 Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.
Those who are of the church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour,9 flee from sin and pursue righteousness,10 love the true God and their neighbour11 without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works.12 Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life.13 They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.14
The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ.15 It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.16
These two churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1. Rev 2:9. 2. Rom 9:6. 3. Gal 1:8; 1 Tim 3:15. 4. Acts 19:3-5; 1 Cor 11:20-29. 5. Mat 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:4-5, 1 Cor 5:13; 2 Thes 3:6, 2 Thes 3:14; Titus 3:10. 6. John 8:47; John 17:20; Acts 17:11; Eph 2:20; Col 1:23; 1 Tim 6:3. 7. 1 Thes 5:21; 1 Tim 6:20; Rev 2:6. 8. John 10:14; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18. 9. John 1:12; 1 John 4:2. 10. Rom 6:2; Phil 3:12. 11. 1 John 4:19-21. 12. Gal 5:24. 13. Rom 7:15; Gal 5:17. 14. Rom 7:24-25; 1 John 1:7-9. 15. Acts 4:17-18; 2 Tim 4:3-4; 2 John 9. 16. John 16:2.
- See more at: http://www.scripturezealot.com/belgic-confession/#sthash.Ehm21icJ.dpuf
ARTICLE 29 – THE MARKS OF THE TRUE AND THE FALSE CHURCH
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of church.1 We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the church along with the good and yet are not part of the church, although they are outwardly in it.2 We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the church.
The true church is to be recognized by the following marks: It practises the pure preaching of the gospel.3 It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.4 It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.5 In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God,6 rejecting all things contrary to it7 and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head.8 Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.
Those who are of the church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour,9 flee from sin and pursue righteousness,10 love the true God and their neighbour11 without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works.12 Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life.13 They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.14
The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ.15 It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.16
These two churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1. Rev 2:9. 2. Rom 9:6. 3. Gal 1:8; 1 Tim 3:15. 4. Acts 19:3-5; 1 Cor 11:20-29. 5. Mat 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:4-5, 1 Cor 5:13; 2 Thes 3:6, 2 Thes 3:14; Titus 3:10. 6. John 8:47; John 17:20; Acts 17:11; Eph 2:20; Col 1:23; 1 Tim 6:3. 7. 1 Thes 5:21; 1 Tim 6:20; Rev 2:6. 8. John 10:14; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18. 9. John 1:12; 1 John 4:2. 10. Rom 6:2; Phil 3:12. 11. 1 John 4:19-21. 12. Gal 5:24. 13. Rom 7:15; Gal 5:17. 14. Rom 7:24-25; 1 John 1:7-9. 15. Acts 4:17-18; 2 Tim 4:3-4; 2 John 9. 16. John 16:2.
- See more at: http://www.scripturezealot.com/belgic-confession/#sthash.Ehm21icJ.dpuf
ARTICLE 29 – THE MARKS OF THE TRUE AND THE FALSE CHURCH
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of church.1 We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the church along with the good and yet are not part of the church, although they are outwardly in it.2 We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the church.
The true church is to be recognized by the following marks: It practises the pure preaching of the gospel.3 It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.4 It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.5 In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God,6 rejecting all things contrary to it7 and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head.8 Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.
Those who are of the church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour,9 flee from sin and pursue righteousness,10 love the true God and their neighbour11 without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works.12 Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life.13 They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.14
The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ.15 It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.16
These two churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1. Rev 2:9. 2. Rom 9:6. 3. Gal 1:8; 1 Tim 3:15. 4. Acts 19:3-5; 1 Cor 11:20-29. 5. Mat 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:4-5, 1 Cor 5:13; 2 Thes 3:6, 2 Thes 3:14; Titus 3:10. 6. John 8:47; John 17:20; Acts 17:11; Eph 2:20; Col 1:23; 1 Tim 6:3. 7. 1 Thes 5:21; 1 Tim 6:20; Rev 2:6. 8. John 10:14; Eph 5:23; Col 1:18. 9. John 1:12; 1 John 4:2. 10. Rom 6:2; Phil 3:12. 11. 1 John 4:19-21. 12. Gal 5:24. 13. Rom 7:15; Gal 5:17. 14. Rom 7:24-25; 1 John 1:7-9. 15. Acts 4:17-18; 2 Tim 4:3-4; 2 John 9. 16. John 16:2.
- See more at: http://www.scripturezealot.com/belgic-confession/#sthash.Ehm21icJ.dpuf