En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘godly’

Holiness A Way of Life…For the Authentic Believer!

Posted by Scott on September 16, 2008

A couple of mornings in my quiet time I was reading and studying through the Heroes of the Faith in Hebrews 11:1-40 and continuing on into chapter 12 as well.  Something interesting was shining through each verse and my awareness of God’s strong calling for us men to return to a holiness the world has not seen or heard of for centuries…these men of old lived by a faith in someone that was unknown in that day and time and unseen…the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  These early faithful fathers considered a strange life to be worth more than all the wealth in the world.  Many were willing to sacrifice everything they had in order to follow the commands of God.  We must ask ourselves if we are willing to give up our wealth, our job, our golf game, our constant trips away from the family, our social life, and so on in order to be obedient to call of God on our lives.  Not many are willing, but some are.

All these people spoken of here were living out their faith in God and the coming Messiah at the time of their death.  They did not waiver in their faith.  They desired to be holy and not compromise their holiness for anything less than their very best for God.  Each one of them considered themselves to be strangers or aliens while on earth.  They had not conformed to the world’s way of living…they stayed the course.  These men and women understood their role as being made after the image of God. 

Any of us that are today striving to live our lives in holiness, set apart for the service and work of God our Father must ask ourselves if we are really walking in faith daily?  We live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth in the way of safety, security, freedom to worship as we please and where we please and even the ease of life.  However, conformity to the world is even easier here.  It is much easier to live as everyone else does.  It is much easier just to go along with what everyone else is doing.  Send the kids to public school that teach them to be everything but a holy Christian, so you don’t have to answer those questions that homeschool parents get asked.  Put the kids in every sport and activity known to man so they don’t have be pressured by their peers at school or church..just conform to the world’s way of life and it will be much easier.  Remember, only have two children…if you have a boy and a girl you now have the “perfect” family…I mean you must know better than God how man kids you can handle…us guys we surely know what is best for our families, God just pushes us out here and kind of lets us go in all directions and hopes we end up where He planned.  Play golf every weekend because your buddies do and they might laugh at you for being a “family man” if you did not join them.  Guys, it is much easier to just conform to the ways of our society than it is to live a holy life…we must admit this to ourselves.  Now, guys you you know all that sounds absurd, but that is how many Christians live and wonder why they have no impact for Christ.  Let’s stop and think about the early Christian’s and what they went through for the cause of Christ.  Stop and think about your life and whether it is pleasing to our heavenly Father who has told us to be “holy”.

“…others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[a]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…”  Hebrews 11:35-37

These early Christians were our examples of how an authentic Christian should live.  The difference Christ has made in our lives should be obvious to those around us.  It could lead to beatings, ridicule, imprisonment, torture, etc., but in our society today most likely just very opinionated people lashing out is what will happen.  How may of us are willing to live in holiness with a threat hanging over our heads, because of our faith.  The Scriptures tell us that “the world was not worthy of these.”  Can this be said of you and me?  Are we living such a life that we are willing to take the jeers from others including other so called believers?  Are we willing to be an alien in this world to the point of being taken to court over it or even imprisoned for the Christ sake?  These are serious questions we all must ask ourselves.

Holiness was worth going through some of the most horrible torture the world could think of to many of the early Christians.  Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of the coming Messiah of greater value than all the treasure in all of Egypt.  Rahab was willing to risk her and her families life to assist the godly men of God.  Enoch was rewarded for being the one who pleased God and was taken away to heaven without experiencing death…holiness was evident in his obedience to God’s word.  He understood that it was impossible to please God without being obedient to Him.  Noah built the ark in holy fear of God who commanded him to build it.  Each of these people and many more were considered holy before a perfectly holy God.  They understood the risk, but also believed in the reward…God Himself!

To be disciplined by God is to be loved by God.  He must sanctify us before He uses us and He is disciplining us to experience in His holiness.  These hardships and disciplines are brought upon us to produce a holy righteousness and a peace that surpasses the masses understanding.  In this quest for holiness, God intends on training us so that we can share in His holiness.  He intends the bride of Christ (the Elect, the Sheep, the Chose ones) to be holy when He returns.

In conclusion, this life is worth living only if it is lived out for God and Him alone.  Everything we do in this life should be for the glory and honor of our most holy God.  Our holiness is important to God in pointing the way for others to an authentic faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  We must ask ourselves a question each and everyday…what am doing today that is showing my holiness before our almighty God?

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”   -Hebrews 12:14

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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The “Hound of Heaven”!

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

By: Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

The Hound of Heaven and a Young Russian Agnostic

Andrea Wolfe, on staff with the CoMission office in Raleigh, North Carolina tells the following story:

In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

The CoMission once sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history wasn’t known at that time. But when the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

After the team had prayed extensively, one member finally mustered up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMissioners asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “Yes!”

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

No wonder he was weeping-God had powerfully and yet tenderly made Himself known to this young man.1 Such was his divinely appointed meeting with the sovereign Lord of the universe, the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse! Remember Jeremiah’s words: “`Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. `Do not I fill both heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jer 23:24).

The “Hound of Heaven” and You

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can track us down wherever we’re hiding! And once on the trail, he sets his heart with relentless zeal and undivided focus to the pursuit-a zeal that originally led him directly to the ignominy of a Roman cross!

Choosing to leave behind the luxuries of Heaven’s golden palaces and the unrivaled joy of the Father’s presence, Jesus willingly descended into the ghetto of this present world-the realm of sin and Satan-in order to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Through the brutality of his suffering, climaxing in his voluntary death, he secured a startling triumph over hostile forces arrayed in battle against Him (and us). Having earned a once-for-all victory for His people, and having been resurrected to an indestructible life, He has returned to Heaven and His Father, where he continues to seek and to save that which was lost (Heb 7:25). The young Russian man knows what this means. So does his grandmother. Do you?

You see, Jesus is still pursuing people through the message of the cross. The message of the cross rises above the myriad of voices and the noise in our culture, seizing our consciences by the throat and laying bare the depth of our selfishness and estrangement from God. If Jesus Christ was God Almighty incarnate, and His death was necessary to quell my rebellion, then I guess I know God’s estimate of my sinfulness. “Oh wretched man that I am,” says the apostle (Rom 7:24). But the good news is-for those who love Him-that all our filth has been transferred to Christ who willingly bore the guilt and pollution of our sin, death, and shame.

Thus, the message of the cross not only instructs me concerning the disastrous consequences of my rebellion, it also faithfully imparts the priceless knowledge of God’s “other worldly,” all conquering love-a love that changes “rebel” into “reconciled” and whose intensity can only be likened to a blood hound hot on the trail.

Like a major landmark enroute to the place where God lives, the cross shows you and me the way home into the arms of our Father. It does not repel us from Him; on the contrary, it leads us confidently into His presence. Surely if He would suffer to this extent for us, then He must love us thoroughly.

In short, the cross calms my agitated, nervous heart and is like a smiling, gracious butler, who sees plainly that I am not clothed properly, but who nonetheless incessantly pleads with me to enter God’s home where the real party never ends. Through the cross God himself has provided the wardrobe appropriate for the festivities! He called our young Russian friend and now he calls you. Won’t you come in?

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Hell…Eternal Torment or Annilation?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008

(Author: John Piper)

Resolved 08, which I spoke at a couple weeks ago, had a sobering theme: Heaven and Hell. In my preparation, I dug up this contrast between Clark Pinnock and Dorothy Sayers.

Clark Pinnock, a Canadian theologian who has moved far from his evangelical roots, wrote:

I was led to question the traditional belief in everlasting conscious torment because of moral revulsion and broader theological considerations, not first of all on scriptural grounds. It just does not make any sense to say that a God of love will torture people forever for sins done in the context of a finite life…. It’s time for evangelicals to come out and say that the biblical and morally appropriate doctrine of hell is annihilation, not everlasting torment. (Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue, 226-7)

Dorothy Sayers, who died in 1957, speaks a wise and faithful antidote to this kind of abandonment of truth.

There seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the “cruel and abominable mediaeval doctrine of hell,” or “the childish and grotesque mediaeval imagery of physical fire and worms.” …

But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of hell is not “mediaeval”: it is Christ’s. It is not a device of “mediaeval priestcraft” for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from “mediaeval superstition,” but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it…. It confronts us in the oldest and least “edited” of the gospels: it is explicit in many of the most familiar parables and implicit in many more: it bulks far larger in the teaching than one realizes, until one reads the Evangelists through instead of picking out the most comfortable texts: one cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ. (A Matter of Eternity, 86)

by John Piper www.desiringGod.org

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If You Can Be Godly and Wrong, Does Truth Matter?

Posted by Scott on July 2, 2008



DadsDevoted!

Since there are some Arminians who are more godly than some Calvinists and some Calvinists who are more godly than some Arminians, what is the correlation between true knowledge of God and godliness?

The best of both groups have historically admired the godliness of those in the other group. Whitefield, the Calvinist, said of Wesley, the Arminian, “Mr. Wesley I think is wrong in some things; yet I believe…Mr. Wesley, and others, with whom we do not agree in all things, will shine bright in glory” (Wesley and the Men Who Followed, 71).

But the sad thing about our day, unlike the days of Whitefield and Wesley, is that many infer from this that knowing God with greater truth and fullness is not important, since it doesn’t appear to be decisive in what produces godliness. Those who know what the Bible says will be protected from that mistake.

Paul correlates knowing and doing in a way that shows that knowing profoundly influences doing. Fourteen times Paul implies that our sinful behavior would be different if we knew the truth more fully. For example,

  • You yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Corinthians 6:8–9)
  • Flee from sexual immorality…. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:18–19)
  • Each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:4–5)

All godliness is owing to truth, that is, to God as he is truly known. Truth, known with the mind and loved with the heart, is the way God produces all godliness. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

When a more godly person believes something erroneous about God, among other true things, it is not the error that God uses to produce the godliness.

And when a less godly person believes something true about God, among other false things, it is not the truth that his sin uses to produce the ungodliness. 

There are various reasons why a person with a more true view of God may be less godly, and the person with a less true view of God may be more godly:

1. The person with a less true view of God may nevertheless be more submissive and more powerfully influenced by the smaller amount of truth that he has, and the person with more truth may be less submissive and less influenced by the truth he has. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth) always makes truth an instrument in his sanctifying influences, but he does not always do it in proportion to the amount of truth present in the mind.

God’s revealed will is that we grow in the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), because in that way the Spirit can make our holiness the manifest fruit of what we know of Christ, so that Christ is more clearly honored (John 16:14). But the Spirit is free to make little knowledge produce much holiness, lest those with much knowledge be proud.

2. Two persons with radically different personalities and backgrounds may have more or fewer obstacles to overcome in the process of sanctification. Therefore, the one with fewer obstacles may respond in godly ways to less truth, while the one with more obstacles may struggle more, even though he has more truth.

3. A person with much truth may lag behind in godliness because there are hindrances that arise between the truth in the mind and the response of the heart to that truth. These hindrances may include loss of memory; ease of distraction; blind spots that keep one from seeing how a truth applies to a long-held pattern of behavior; mental disorders (mild or profound) that create disconnects between thoughts and volitions; confusion and ignorance about the way sanctification is meant to work; or hidden rebellion of the heart that covers itself with a veneer of orthodoxy.

Therefore, let us humble ourselves. There are views so obscured by error that the God on the other side of the glass is not the true God. So the measure of truth in our views matters infinitely. But also, there is no guarantee that right thinking will produce right living. There is more to godliness than having clear views of God. Trusting him and loving him through those views matters infinitely.


© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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The Church is Still Being Built By God Himself!

Posted by Scott on June 25, 2008

DadsDevoted

by John MacArthur

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. In Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the church in the eternal plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, He is the immutable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always comes to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10). His plan is invincible and unshakable, and He will bring to pass all that He has spoken (v. 11). And he has spoken about building the church in the most triumphant words.

For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3)—He who wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.

“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of the church He is building.

There’s still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. Thus Christ assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. He is building the church, and the work will not be thwarted.

Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He does not suggest that any particular church will be infallible. He does not teach that any of the bishops of the church will be error-free. He does not guarantee that this or that individual church will not apostatize. He does not promise success and prosperity to every congregation. But He does pledge that the church—that universal body of believers under Christ’s headship—the spouse, the body, and the fullness of him that filleth all in all—will have a visible being and a testimony in this world as long as the world itself lasts. And the all the enemies of truth combined shall never secure the defeat or destruction of the church.

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

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The distinctives of the Lord Jesus-Christ in the Koran!

Posted by Scott on June 18, 2008

What Does the Koran Say about Jesus?

 

 

1. Jesus was the only person to be born of a virgin, distinguished from all humans and prophets without any exception: “She said, How shall I have a son, whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchased. He said, Even so thy Lord has said: Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us. It is a thing determined.”(19) (Mary 16-24).

2. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all humans by being the Word of God, who is the very expression of the Self of God end His eternal Being: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word…” (4)The Women 171; (3)House of Imran 40).

3. Jesus Christ alone emanated from the spirit of God; for this reason He did not need a sexual, genetical birth. “The Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, God’s Messenger, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him.” (4)The Women 169)

4. Jesus Christ alone, in exception to all humans, spoke while in the cradle (19)Mary 22-32). The Koran tells us that Christ needed no one to teach Him anything, not even how to speak. The Bible says: “Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him knowledge and showed to Him the way of understanding.” (Isaiah 40:1,13-14). Naturally, no one can teach the One who emanated from God’s Spirit for He is the All-knowing.

5. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all prophets with His infallibility and was the only one to be singled out for His perfection; for all the prophets had sinned, and their sins were mentioned in the Koran. However, Christ was the only exception, for “High honored shall be in this world and the next.” (3)House of Imran 45). Also, the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) testified for the perfection of Christ and His infallibility, saying: “Satan pokes with his finger the side of every human at birth, except Jesus, son of Mary; when he went to poke Him, he poked the curtain.”

6. Jesus Christ alone was distinguished from all others in the sense that He was the Creator: “I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it and it will be a bird.” (3)House of  Imran 42).

7. Jesus Christ alone was uniquely incomparable in knowing men’s secrets: “I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely, in that is a sign for you if you are believers.” (3)House of Imran 48).

8. Jesus was matchless in making the miracles and the wonders which no other could make: “And I will also heal the blind and the leper…” (3)House of Imran 48).

9. Jesus Christ alone could raise the dead with the word of His blessed mouth: And I will bring life to the dead…”  (3)House of Imran 48; (5)The Table 110).

10. Jesus Christ alone exclusively enjoyed the prophetical title of “the Messiah”: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was God’s Messenger, and His Word committed to Mary…” (4)Women 169). The Old Testament made known the real identity of the Messiah, saying: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth… and this is the name whereby He shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

11. Jesus Christ alone exchanged responsibility of authority with God: “And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when thou didst take me to thy self, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them.” (5)Table 117).

12. Jesus was the only one to become a Sign unto men and Mercy from God (19)Mary 20) unto men who fell under the burden and the shackles of sin; for which, God’s justice and holiness condemned them to eternal perdition. For this reason the only Savior, who can offer eternal salvation to men came to be a Mercy from God.

13. Only Jesus Christ could give His followers high honors and assurances concerning the day of Resurrection: “I will cause thee to die, and I will raise thee to Me, and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the resurrection Day,”  (3)House of Imran 55)

14. Only Jesus will be the Judge who will come to this world to judge the living and the dead; the Arab prophet (El-Bukhari) confirmed this fact, saying: “The Last Hour will not come until the Son of Mary come down as the just Judge.”

 

Who is Christ Indeed?

If you meditated on any of the Koran verses that portray the Lord Jesus Christ, you find that they are inherent attributes that are exclusively distinctive of God; and that He did not share any of them with any human at all. Moreover, you find that the Lord Jesus Christ did not enjoy only one of these attributes, but He included all of them in His blessed person, so that He may leave no doubt concerning His deity and divinity.

The New Testament recorded that the All-mighty God became a perfect man (something that was easy for Him to do) and came from heaven to our earth to save men. The Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God … and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14). Then the Bible continues the portrayal of Christ, saying:”And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16).

 

The Doctrine of the “SON OF GOD” in the Old Testament.

The Jews believe, as many of the Muslims do, that the idea of “The Son of God” was an innovation of Christianity, brought as a heresy against the faith in the One God. But if you study the Tenach, which is the Jewish Torah or Old Testament, you will find that the doctrine of God’s Son is braided, fused, and embedded in the very foundations of the Tenach. And in these few coming lines, we will present the strongest proofs that support this doctrine and prove that the Jews have rejected the very doctrine of their Holy Tenach concerning God’s Son. The second Psalm says: “Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.” (Psalms 2:10-12).

Who is this Son that God is admonishing the kings, the judges, and the people of the earth to give Him loyalty, honor, homage, and reverence? Which human son is worthy of having the whole world putting their trust in him? For certainty, there is no human who is worthy or capable to accept the responsibility of all humans putting their trust in him. For this reason, the wisest human that ever lived, king Solomon, made known that that Son is the Son of the Omni-potent Creator to whom nothing is impossible: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in his garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou knowest? ” (Proverbs 30:4)

Salomon excelled in proclaiming the truth when God revealed to him that that Son who became unto us wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:31), and who is the Word of God, was with God since the beginning, exactly as the Asharite group deducted in their argument concerning the Word or God and the eternality thereof; he said: ” The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was … While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him, as a master workman; And I was dailhis delight… ” (Proverbs 8:22-30)

Then came Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, to dissipate all the clouds of doubts concerning the identity of the Son of the All-mighty God, he said: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel; [which is, being interpreted, God with us.]”(Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Who is this Son who is worthy of homage, loyalty and honor as well as being entitled to be called The mighty God, the Everlasting Father? No one except the only and unique One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, in exception to all humans for genetical birth did not become to Him.

If you studied the Tenach in depth, you find that the central theme of its entirety is the Lord Jesus Christ. It also contains more than three hundred prophecies about the expected Messiah. The prophets were given the privilege of predicting the details of every aspect of His birth, life, death, and resurrection. All those prophecies were precisely fulfilled in Jesus’ birth, its time, its place, and the events that related to it; and in His forerunner, and in His life, ministry, miracles, preaching, disciples, the Jews treating Him, crucifixion, burial, the period of His staying in the grave, glorious resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven. All that was done so that He could prove to men that He was not an ordinary human, but the God who forged history and fashioned the events so that the prophecies could be fulfilled, to prepare men to meet the True God who loved them.

 

Why Did Christ Come?

Christ came to save us from our sins and from the eternal torment that our sins brought upon us. We are sinners by nature and by choice: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10-23). Moreover, we cannot save ourselves neither by our money nor by our good works, for the Lord’s salvation is by the grace of God; and there fore, it is a free gift: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Whereas God is most holy and pure, and whereas His holiness does not accept sin, our sins brought upon us the wrath of God, and we have become worthy of eternal perdition: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). Furthermore, we cannot save ourselves with self efforts, nor can we buy our eternity with a fistful of money or good works no matter how good they are. If a man condemned to death for breaking human laws cannot satisfy human justice with a fistful of money nor can he settle his debt by performing good works, how then can we expect to satisfy the absolute justice of God with a handful of money and some good works? God’s justice requires the most severe punishments, which led man to the fire of hell.

But the love of God for us is far greater than what we can imagine. Consequently, He sent His only Holy and Pure Son, to satisfy the divine justice which cannot accept other than the most severe punishment. For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin. For this reason, God demanded of man to offer the sacrifices for sins; but all those sacrifices would have meant nothing, nor would they have any effect, had they not been the symbol of the precious blood that was shed on the cross upon Mount Calvary: “… the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins … Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Hebrews 10:11; 9:12).

“The Great Sacrifice” that was mentioned by the Koran in (The Rangers 37:109), quoting the Torah, and telling the story of Abraham, when he was about to offer his son as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, but God stopped him and gave him a lamb to redeem his son; was but a symbol of the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary. Here, we see the Koran calling it “the Great Sacrifice”, because that lamb was not an ordinary lamb, similar to the other lambs that were offered daily; but was a unique lamb, a gift from heaven to Abraham to redeem his son who was under the judgement of a sure death. Also, because God wanted to teach us, that: what happened on Mount Moriah (which is Mount Calvary), was but a symbol; first, of man’s situation and his sins that brought God’s judgement of eternal death in the fire of hell, upon him. Secondly, of the love of God who sent the Gift of Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). Then Christ died on the same spot where Abraham offered the lamb to redeem his son; symbolizing the death of Christ for man to forgive the sins of everyone that believes: “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18).

Therefore, Abraham’s “Great Sacrifice” which was offered by Christ with His own blood, to redeem man and to nullify all other sacrifices, seeing that we need them no more: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God … For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (1 Peter 3: 18; John 3:16). And whereas Jesus Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit; i.e., His Son, He could not be held back by death in the grave; but He arose the third day from the dead with great glory, to prove His clam, and to establish His message: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25).

 

Who is a Christian?

 

 

 

 

Not everyone that is labeled as a Christian is a Christian. A person might be pious, or religious, but not a real Christian; the Bible says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7 :21). Unfortunately, most of those who are labeled as Christian, are not even religious let alone real Christians. Moreover, in real Christianity, no nation can be considered a Christian nation, because Christianity is a personal relationship between God and the individual: “For many be called, but few chosen… Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 20:16; 7:13-14).

Therefore, a true Christian is a Christian neither by birth nor by heritage, nor by coercion, nor by force. But rather, he is the person who responds to God’s call and the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart, inviting him to eternal salvation. For this reason God excluded governments, states, and organizations from His salvation plan; because man always tends to abuse his powers, and then tries to justify his oppressive actions by claiming that he is acting on God’s behalf (And that is an excuse worse than the misdeed); as if God is unable to avenge. We should never forget what the almighty God said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). In contrast, Christ sent his followers as lambs in the midst of wolves. However, this does not mean that kings, governors and statesmen do not have the same chance like everyone else to be saved, for they are born sinners like the rest of us, and they surely need God’s salvation: (God) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, the true Christian lives the godly life, in obedience to god, so he may be a light in the midst of this world of darkness. Also, the true Christian obeys the Lord’s commandment concerning baptism. A follower of Christ would find a fundamental group of believers with whom he would have fellowship, for mutual edification.

 

 

 

Necessity of Faith!

Even though God has completed the work of salvation and offered it to us as a free gift, we cannot enjoy God’s salvation unless we repent from our sins, and accept the lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions… But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (Ezekiel 18:30; Acts 3:19; John 1:12).

Here we find that the calling of God unto repentance was built upon love, compassion and mercy, with no intimidation, scare, unnerving or coercion, whatsoever. For the love of God inspires a respect to man and gives him the opportunity to make an important decision for himself. Consequently, God says: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life…” (Deut. 30:19-20).

The Bible stresses upon the center of faith, saying: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Without this faith in Christ, there is no possibility to please God, nor receive eternal salvation or eternal bliss. Therefore, the answer to the most important question that faces man concerning the place where he will spend his eternity, is based in its entirety upon the individual’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says: “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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9,13).

Therefore, as a sinner who desires and seeks to receive the forgiveness of your sins, eternal life, and the assurance of your eternity, [you can pray something like this]: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. [I know that I am a dreadful sinner condemned unclean a part from Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Now I am praying asking you to forgive my sins once and for all and to give me eternal life. Thank you because you have heard [my] prayer.  In [the name above every name-Jesus Christ] I pray.  Amen.”

 

An Imperative Word

How may a guilty man have any hope from the justice of the legal code if he is brought before a judge who happened to be his opponent? The Bible confirms the fact that Christ will come as the Judge, saying: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” (2 Tim.4:1). Islam has supported this fact as Mohammed said: “The Last Hour will not come until the son of Mary come down as the just Judge.” Then the Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ “will judge the world in righteousness… For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (Acts 17:31; John 5:22). Therefore, we see here a fact that does not allow questioning or argument; first, that “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); secondly, that the Lord Jesus Christ will come back as the righteous Judge of the living and the dead.

Here, we have to ask what is the account that man would give before the Judge? As the Bible teaches, Christ died for our sins, to give us complete forgiveness. But what happens if we reject that forgiveness? The Bible says: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18). Therefore, the most serious charge that man will face before the Great Judge is the answer we will give in response to the redemptive work of Christ for you. What will your answer be to His question: “Did you accept the redemptive work that I accomplished on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins?” The Bible replies, saying: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:7-12).

Therefore, the great case before the righteous Judge is based upon the fact whether you accepted or rejected God’s testimony concerning His son and His redemptive work on the cross. This means that if you rejected that testimony, you have discredited the testimony of God concerning His Son, and you will find yourself without excuse in the hands of an angry Judge, reaping the wrath that you have treasured for yourself against the Day of Wrath, whereon the righteous judgement of god will be given against every one that had decided not to believe the Word of God nor to accept His testimony. The prayer of my heart is that you have accepted the redemptive word of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and have received Christ as your personal Savior, so that you will be found among the saved and the faithful. God Bless you. Amen.

Excerpt from: The gospel of Christ Jesus according to Saint John – As reviewed by the Koran and Muslim scholars, By: Dr. Ben Malik Jamil

Prepared for the Internet by:

www.TheGrace.com

 

 

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“So Does Scripture Say Anything About God Choosing?” video

Posted by Scott on May 9, 2008

 

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Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose! Eckhart Tolle

Posted by Scott on April 11, 2008

“I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth…for the first heaven and first earth had passed away”.     Revelation 21:1

I have been watching and listening intently at many actors and actresses as they describe what this New Earth book by Eckhart Tolle means to them.  With such terms as “a new conscienceness” or “a new earth” being thrown around.  I watched and listened to the sincerity of each of them including other people who are simply a follower of Oprah.  I even have studied Oprah through all of this and how she is changing daily because of this “new revelation” from this book.  So, I wanted to try to be brief and clear about what is taking place here.  As many people are looking for the meaning of life, true peace, true happiness, and true joy.  Many of these same people are also looking for riches, glory, honor, and influence that they have never had before.  I would ask that anyone contemplating turning their hearts and eternity over to this “new conscienceness” to listen and meditate closely on what is presented within this text.

Galatians 1:6 [ There Is Only One Good News ] I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News.”

First items I heard was the different words used that you will hear in Christianity and other religions.  This can throw many people off are not versed in the scriptures.  Psalm 26:2-3 it tells us “Test me, O Lord, and try me.  Examine my heart and my mind, for your love is ever before me…”  I would encourage you to first ask God to examine your heart and mind to see if it is of a sound doctrine.  God will show us through His word, the Bible, if we are on the right track or not.  We know that many will come say they have found a “new way”, “new light”, new revelation”, or even the way to a “new earth”…however, this does not mean it is the truth.  God’s word tells us also that our ways are not God’s ways nor is our thoughts God’s thoughts.  So, we cannot believe for a moment that we have discovered anything new or discovered the secret to God.  For a few thousand years now we have found in the bible the true way to a personal relationship with God.  This personal relationship is as real as two people setting across from each other at a table talking.  This “new earth” way is not a personal realtionship with God…there is no God in the Tolle philosophy.  Do you want a rock you can stand on?  Do you want someone that has felt your pain and died for your depraved mind and heart?  Would you like to settle the issue of eternity while you live your life on earth?  Would you like to be able to get through those lowest times in your life with a spiritual being carrying you through?  This is all found in Jesus Christ.  He will deliver true peace, true joy, true happiness, true prosperity…not this feel good methodology.  God never ask that you empty your mind like Tolle tells his people and meditate.  God wants you to meditate on His word…He will direct you and teach you something from that, not an empty mind listening to whatever spirit blows across your mind.  The most dangerous thing in the world is emptying your minds to nothing.  Look to the authority of the scriptures, the holiness of a sovereign God and to the loving righteousness of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus tells us in John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” 

Now, I would ask Eckhart Tolle and Oprah from what authority they preach and teach this book to millions of people?  One must have authority before they can make such claims as they do.  The Bible is time tested and has survived each test…however, this new book has not survived the test of even a years time yet.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Now, I ask again, by what authority does Oprah and Eckhart preach and teach the themes within Tolle’s new book?  They have no authority from heaven, but possible from the millions of people that have cleared their minds to winds of any spirit travelling by at the moment.  This is not authority, but it is mindless popularity.  Millions of people are willing to place their eternity in the hands of a paperback book written by a non-authority in eternal things.  This puzzles me somewhat, that this many people are willing to empty their minds to something that is not proven nor will it be proven unless it is to be false.

Many people have been taught incorrectly in churches for decades by unholy men or unknowledgable men.  These men did not convey the love within the pages of God’s word.  They did not expound on the word correctly for the most part either to the point that legalism took the place of true Christianity.  C.S. Lewis plainly spoke one time, “It is Christ Himself not the Bible who is the true Word of God.  The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good leaders, will bring us to Him.”  The mistake for decades has been worshipping the words on a page or a book rather than the power behind the words on those pages which is found in Jesus Christ.  John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”  Who is the Word?  It is Jesus Christ.  Who was with God in the beginning?  Jesus! 

What is our life’s purpose?  It is to bring glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ in all things.  The beauty of the earth was to bring glory to God.  The suffering of Jesus was to glorify the Father in heaven.  Our life is to honor and love Christ regardless what we are going through.  God wants you and I to delight in Him.  Not when we are buying a new car, house, or clothes neccessarily, but when we are walking through the dark valley of death, when we are sick and dying in a hospital, when a child or loved one is killed suddenly, or when we are bankrupt financially with no end in sight….this is when God wants us to delight in Him in all things.  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4.  Does this mean if we desire a new car then we call out to our magic Geni and He will deliver a new car?  No, it means that if we will delight in Him, then our hearts can be tested and found to be one with Him…this results in our desires matching up with God’s.  Our desires will then want nothing less than honor and glory for Him…new cars, new houses, new clothes, and new things will not even be in the picture…our personal relationship with Jesus will replace those earthly, selfish desires.

Throughout all of scripture, if we are at one with our Lord, we can find our loving Jesus in every book of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.  It is more than inspiring…it is life transforming.  Read the list below of who Christ is throughout the entire Bible:

HE IS!

In Genesis He is the breath of life

In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb

In Leviticus He is our high priest

In Numbers He is the fire by night

In Deuteronomy He is Moses’ voice

In Joshua He is salvation’s choice

In Judges He is the law giver

In Ruth He is our kinsmen-redeemer

In First & Second Samuel He is our trusted prophet

In Kings & Chronicles He is sovereign

In Nehemiah He is the re-builder of broken walls and lives

In Esther He is Mordecai’s courage

In Job He is the timeless redeemer

In Psalms He is our morning song

In Proverbs He is wisdom’s cry

In Ecclesiastes He is the time and seasons

In Solomon He is the lover’s dream

In Isaiah He is the Prince of Peace

In Jeremiah He is the weeping prophet

In Lamentations He is the cry for Israel

In Ezekial He is the call from sin

In Daniel He is the stranger in the fire

In Hosea He is forever faithful

In Joel He is the spirit’s power

In Amos He is the arms that carry us

In Obadiah He is the Lord our Savior

In Jonah He is the great missionary

In Micah He is the promise of peace

In Nahum He is our strength and our shield

In Habakkuk & Zephaniah He is pleading for revival

In Zechariah He is our fountain

In Malachi he is the sun of righteousness rising with healing in His wings

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John He is God, Man, Messiah

In Acts He is the fire from heaven

In Romans He is the grace of God

In the Corinthians He is the power of love

In Galatians He is freedom from the curse of sin

In Ephesians He is our glorious treasure

In Phillipians He is the servant’s heart

In Colossians He is the Godhead Trinity

In Thessalonians He is our coming King

In Timothy, Titus and Philemon He is our mediator and our faithful pastor

In Hebrews He is the everlasting covenant

In James He is the One who heals the sick

In Peter He is our Shepherd

In John and Jude He is the lover coming for His bride

and In Revelation He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, The Son of Man, the Lamb of God, the Great “I AM”…He is the alpha and omega, Our God and Savior….He is Jesus Christ the Lord.

You see there is no new conscienceness or new revelation…the only new earth will be after Jesus comes back after He has defeated the wicked on this earth…after the old heaven and earth are gone away then comes the new Jerusalem here on earth.  God has and always will be the same yesterday, today, and in the future.  He is outside of time and is not bound by our time.  He is the awesome God of the Universe and beyond.  If you want to awaken to your life’s purpose…then give your heart and soul to Christ, not some new age philosophy out of a book that really has no meaning at all.  Do not trust your eternity to mindless talk and philosophies…trust your eternity to the God who created you and wants you to be with Him for all eternity.

Oprah and Eckhart, there is only one way to heaven, to the heavenly Father, to a true relationship with God…that is through Jesus Christ our Lord Who sets at the right hand of the Father today.  There is no other way regardless of what any man walking this earth from past to present tells you.  Jesus tells us “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate  and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”  Further He tells us “I Am the gate, whoever enters through Me will be saved.”  This New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and is being taught by its new false prophet, Oprah Winfrey, is the broad road….it looks good, sounds great, is just what man thinks in his own depraved heart he is looking for….how could it be bad when it does so much good?  I tell you now that this broad road, this new earth, this new conscienceness only leads to destruction.  Oprah said in public and denied that Jesus Christ was the only way…this was a public denial of the deity of Jesus Christ and will lead to her ultimate destruction.  I plead with anyone listening to not fall for it or travel down that path…stay with the narrow way, the small gate which is Jesus!

To read more about the real New Heaven and New Earth just click here!

-Scott Bailey 2008

 

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Ways Parents Provoke Their Kids!

Posted by Scott on April 9, 2008

 

Ways Parents Provoke

8 Ways Parents Provoke(By John MacArthur)

In Ephesians 6:4, Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In our series these last two weeks, we’ve looked at both discipline (specifically, spanking) and instruction (specifically, evangelism). Today, we will look at the command to not provoke.

To “provoke . . . to anger” suggests a repeated, ongoing pattern of treatment that gradually builds up a deep–seated anger and resentment that boils over in outward hostility.

Such treatment is usually not intended to provoke anger. Here are eight ways in which parents can provoke their children to anger:

1) Well–meaning overprotection is a common cause of resentment in children. Parents who smother their children, overly restrict where they can go and what they can do, never trust them to do things on their own, and continually question their judgment build a barrier between themselves and their children—usually under the delusion that they are building a closer relationship. Children need careful guidance and certain restrictions, but they are individual human beings in their own right and must learn to make decisions on their own, commensurate with their age and maturity. Their wills can be guided but they cannot be controlled.

2) Another common cause of provoking children to anger is favoritism. Isaac favored Esau over Jacob and Rebekah preferred Jacob over Esau. That dual and conflicting favoritism not only caused great trouble for the immediate family but has continued to have repercussions in the conflicts between the descendants of Jacob and Esau until our present day! For parents to compare their children with each other, especially in the children’s presence, can be devastating to the child who is less talented or favored. He will tend to become discouraged, resentful, withdrawn, and bitter.

Favoritism by parents generally leads to favoritism among the children themselves, who pick up the practice from their parents. They will favor one brother or sister over the others and will often favor one parent over the other.

3) A third way parents provoke their children is by pushing achievement beyond reasonable bounds. A child can be so pressured to achieve that he is virtually destroyed. He quickly learns that nothing he does is sufficient to please his parents. No sooner does he accomplish one goal than he is challenged to accomplish something better. Fathers who fantasize their own achievements through the athletic skills of their sons, or mothers who fantasize a glamorous career through the lives of their daughters prostitute their responsibility as parents.

I once visited a young woman who was confined to a padded cell and was in a state of catatonic shock. She was a Christian and had been raised in a Christian family, but her mother had ceaselessly pushed her to be the most popular, beautiful, and successful girl in school. She became head cheerleader, homecoming queen, and later a model. But the pressure to excel became too great and she had a complete mental collapse. After she was eventually released from the hospital, she went back into the same artificial and demanding environment. When again she found she could not cope, she committed suicide. She had summed up her frustration when she told me one day, “I don’t care what it is I do, it never satisfies my mother.”

4) A fourth way children are provoked is by discouragement. A child who is never complimented or encouraged by his parents is destined for trouble. If he is always told what is wrong with him and never what is right, he will soon lose hope and become convinced that he is incapable of doing anything right. At that point he has no reason even to try. Parents can always find something that a child genuinely does well, and they should show appreciation for it. A child needs approval and encouragement in things that are good every bit as much as he needs correction in things that are not.

5) A fifth way provocation occurs is by parents’ failing to sacrifice for their children and making them feel unwanted. Children who are made to feel that they are an intrusion, that they are always in the way and interfere with the plans and happiness of the parents, cannot help becoming resentful. To such children the parents themselves will eventually become unwanted and an intrusion on the children’s plans and happiness.

6) A sixth form of provocation comes from failing to let children grow up at a normal pace. Chiding them for always acting childish, even when what they do is perfectly normal and harmless, does not contribute to their maturity but rather helps confirm them in their childishness.

7) A seventh way of angering children is that of using love as a tool of reward or punishment—granting it when a child is good and withdrawing it when he is bad. Often the practice is unconscious, but a child can sense if a parent cares for him less when is he disobedient than when he behaves. That is not how God loves and is not the way he intends human parents to love. God disciplines His children just as much out of love as He blesses them. “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (Heb. 12:6). Because it is so easy to punish out of anger and resentment, parents should take special care to let their children know they love them when discipline is given.

8) An eighth way to provoke children is by physical and verbal abuse. Battered children are a growing tragedy today. Even Christian parents—fathers especially—sometimes overreact and spank their children much harder than necessary. Proper physical discipline is not a matter of exerting superior authority and strength, but of correcting in love and reasonableness. Children are also abused verbally. A parent can as easily overpower a child with words as with physical force. Putting him down with superior arguments or sarcasm can inflict serious harm, and provokes him to anger and resentment. It is amazing that we sometimes say things to our children that we would not think of saying to anyone else—for fear of ruining our reputation!

In closing, consider the confession of one Christian father,

My family’s all grown and the kids are all gone. But if I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do. I would love my wife more in front of my children. I would laugh with my children more—at our mistakes and our joys. I would listen more, even to the littlest child. I would be more honest about my own weaknesses, never pretending perfection. I would pray differently for my family; instead of focusing on them, I’d focus on me. I would do more things together with my children. I would encourage them more and bestow more praise. I would pay more attention to little things, like deeds and words of thoughtfulness. And then, finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family; every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day I would use to direct them to God.

(Today’s article adapted from John’s commentary on Ephesians, published by Moody.)

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The Transforming Word of God!

Posted by Scott on April 8, 2008

I have been compelled these days to write a brief report on the transforming power of the Word of God and the benefits or advantages of having the Word of God living in us.  However, the first event that must take place is the regeneration of the heart….thus we must be “born again”.  God’s Word will have no power in the life of an unsaved unrepentant person to which their heart is not regenerated by the Holy Spirit…the Word will simply fall to the ground from this person without taking root and being “born again”.  Romans 8:7-8 tells us, “the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”  The heart of man cannot accept Christ unless it has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit so that we can be “Born Again”.  This sets the stage for our salvation.

The Holy Spirit must first lay open the fertile ground to which the Word is to be received…this fertile ground is our heart or mind.  This regeneration must take place for a sinful depraved human to even be able to take in through the ears the Word of God.  It is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus and can be no other way.  As Romans 10:8-9 tells us “…the Word is near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart.  That is the Word of faith we are proclaiming.  That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved or born again.”  It is not simply the confession, but the Word penetrating to the heart and bursting into new spiritual life with belief in Jesus as Lord…this is salvation by grace through faith.  The grace is God commissioning the Holy Spirit to regenerate the heart of a dark, sinfully, depraved man to which He cannot stand to look at without the blood of Christ flowing over us…God does not and is not under any obligation to man to do this work in our hearts, yet in His gracious love He chose us to be the receptient of His great salvation…we are His remnant that He loves and will see us through to the end and for all eternity.  Think upon this work of the Holy Spirit as the bride ready to receive her husband on their wedding night.  The fertile place of the wife is open for the husbands perishable seed to be planted to spring forth life in a baby that will be born soon.

1 Peter 1:23 and 25:  “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable seed through the living and enduring Word of God….and this is the Word that was preached to you.” 

This imperishable seed is the Word of the living God that penetrates through our ears to our listening regenerated hearts to receive the imperishable seed the Word of God and therefore it brings forth the spiritual life of being “Born Again” into the family of God.  Is that not the most facinating work ever..I think so?  Both births are a miraculous intervention by a Holy and loving God, unfortunately not all will experience this.  God does the work in both the water birth and the spiritual birth.  Man has no part in the spiritual birth at all from the standpoint of his salvation…the Free Will of man cannot overcome the Free Will of God…for God is sovereign not man.  The imperishable seed will not rest and take root in unfertile unregenerated sinful depraved ground…the ground must be prepared before hand in order for the seed to burst forth with life and grow roots that will result in a wonderful spiritual life.  

Once “Born Again” as Jesus says in John 3 we must be in order to see the kingdom of heaven, then we experience the “transforming power” of the Word of God in our lives.  What power one could ask?  The power to overcome any obstacle set before us that God intends we overcome.  The power to “flick” satan and his demonic pals away from us by the authority of God’s holy Word.  The power to stand and preach the Word of God by the authority of His holy Word.  A power that knows no limits or bounds in and of God Himself.  This is not man’s power, but the power of our holy God.

Another great question could be, “What are the advantages or benefits of having the Word living in us?”  Excellent question.  One benefit is that now we can be pleasing to our heavenly Father filtered through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.  We can now have true joy regardless of our situation…even if the end of our life is in turmoil, we can still have peace and joy in God just because He is God no matter how it turns out.  The peace that surpasses all understanding is a benefit of being Born Again with the Word of God planted and rooted in us.  The benefit of spending eternity in heaven with our Lord is a tremendous advantage of the Word, Jesus, living within us.   All benefits must point towards our awesome God and not upon ourselves.  

To be “Born Again” translates into resting in God’s peace, love, joy, power, and the Word of God coming to life in our lives.  It is no longer man’s peacelessness, lovelessness, joylessness, powerlessness, and Wordless existance.  Before our “Born Again” state we were hopelessly wandering without the truth of any of these benefits in reality.  Many will read God’s Word, try to live a good life, try to think good happy thoughts, go to church maybe, ask spiritual questions, but in the end it is all futile to God, because the person was never “Born Again”…in other words the Word of God never entered into this person and took root in order to create a new born spiritual life.  We can have all the head knowledge in the world of a living God, of  a wonderful savior, yet not ever really accept Him or know Him on a personal level.  Many have tried to come to Christ on their own terms, but Jesus will simply say to these people He never knew them.

Do not be deceived by our understanding of what it means to be saved.  Look to God’s word in John 3…

 1″Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

 3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]

 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

 5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

 9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

 10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.”

  To experience the transforming power of God’s Word and experience a life from the benefits of His Word you must first be “Born Again”.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2008

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