Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing! (Bible Study)

Grab your Bible and the lyrics to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". It was very rewarding exercise to find what Scripture Charles Wesley used when he wrote this Christmas hymn.

Scripture references are in bold.

Hark! The herald angels sing, Luke 2“Glory to the newborn King;Peace on earth, and mercy mild,God and sinners reconciled!”Joyful, all ye nations rise,Join the triumph of the skies;With th’angelic host proclaim,“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored; Hebrews 1 Christ the everlasting Lord;Late in time, behold Him come,Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Isaiah 7:14 Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hebrews 1 and 2 Hail th’incarnate Deity,Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Isaiah 8 and 9 Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Malachi 3:8 Light and life to all He brings,Ris’n with healing in His wings.Mild He lays His glory by, Philippians 2:6-11 Born that man no more may die. Romans 8 Born to raise the sons of earth,Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come, Psalm 2 Fix in us Thy humble home;Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed, Genesis 3 Bruise in us the serpent’s head.Now display Thy saving power,Ruined nature now restore;Now in mystic union join Romans 6 Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Romans 5:12-21 Stamp Thine image in its place:Second Adam from above,Reinstate us in Thy love.Let us Thee, though lost, regain,Thee, the Life, the inner man:O, to all Thyself impart,Formed in each believing heart.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Babies/Children who die Bible study from Romans 5 for 11/30/11

Babies, children, and those who haven’t reached moral or spiritual competence; what happens to those who cannot chose and don’t know good and evil (Deut. 1:39)?
Opening Matthew 7:14 “few find it”/ Romans 5:19 “many will be made righteous”

Job 10:8-13, Psalm 139:14, Psalm 100:3

Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15, Luke 1:41-44

Negative contrast/catch chose to sin
Romans 1:18-21, Romans 5:18

God’s wrath against those who harm children
Lamentations 4:10-11, Jeremiah 19:4-5, Ezekiel 16:15-21, 18:3-4 1 Kings 14:9-13

Jonah 4:9-11, Isaiah 7:16, Romans 9:10-11, Deuteronomy 1:32-39
In a state such as Adam and Eve before they sinned (Genesis 2:17, 3:5 and 22)

Explicit evidence
Psalm 139:13-18, Job 3
2 Samuel 12:16-23 Hope (Psalm 23:6 “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”) contrasted to David to his unsaved son 2 Samuel 18:9-15, 32-33 Hope lost

Implied (Rule of interpretation) Symbolism is always a picture of reality and the reality will be more real than the symbol
Psalm 8:2, Hebrews 2:13-14, Isaiah 8:18, 49:1-2, 14-16, 18, 20-25, 65:23-25, 66:9, 12-13
Matthew 18:1-11 verse 10 (Strong’s 32) an angel also means spirits or ghosts
Matthew 19:13-15/Mark 13-14/Luke 18 (parallel) “such as these” He blessed them”
Matthew 21:14-17 (Psalm 8:2)

20% to 50% miscarried, aborted, or die (up to 9,000,000 a year) over 53,000,000 aborted in USA since 1970. Can you imagine what God sees?

Matthew 28:19-20 how is this accomplished?
Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9-10 (Psalm 8:2 and Matthew 21:16)
Revelation 20:11-15 and 21:8 “the dead are judged for their works”
Galatians 3:10: Infants saved by Grace without works

Oh to be a child, no worries! Matthew 6:25-34
Would John the Baptist have been saved if he died in the womb after jumping for joy? Of course not
What if Jesus had been killed by Herod?
God saves those who are totally unable

Salvation is of the Lord!
Jonah 2:9, Psalm 3:8, 18:2, 46 and 24:5 (over 50 times in the Bible)
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 “O Death where is your victory?”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Junk Food

We all know an exclusive diet of Big Macs isn’t just a bad idea—it’s more like suicide. But it’s even worse to gobble down the half-eaten burgers and cold rubbery fries you find under the back seat of your car. Repulsive, right? But Christians are doing the very same thing.

It wasn’t that long ago that Bill Hybels stood in front of his church—Willow Creek, one of the early pioneers of church growth theory—with his mea culpa. (I’d link to the video of Hybels saying, “We made a mistake,” but they’ve apparently pulled it from their website. But here’s a link to an early newsflash.) After decades of practicing church growth principles, Hybels said, “Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back, it wasn't helping people that much.” Yeah, kinda like fast food.

Today’s church-growth gurus have repackaged the same church-growth theories in cool-sounding, ministry buzzwords like incarnational, missional, and attractional. After a few bites, it becomes apparent that it’s nothing more than half-eaten burgers and cold fries. And it’s not a meal that gets better with age.

One of the more distasteful aspects of the contemporary version of church growth is the franchising, the brand propagation. Cookie-cutter churches are popping up everywhere, powered by church-growth principles, launched with shrewd marketing strategies, legitimized by impressive stats, and stamped with the brand of the celebrity leader and his church franchise. In some cases, you’ll even find the evangelical version of a PlayPlace and a clown. It’s a pattern that works, established by corporate, coming to a church near you.

That’s why John’s last post was so helpful. Like an authoritative label from the FDA, he was able to peel off the wrapper, put the cold fries under the microscope, and tell us what’s lacking. Many of the meals served in the chain-churches lack a high view of Scripture, a high view of God, and a biblical view of the church. Buyer beware.

A generation raised on Happy Meals has a hard time understanding what’s wrong with Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. They need to learn a new diet, which is what we endeavor to teach in the coming months on the GTY blog. Ronald McDonald may not be happy—could cut into his bottom line—but we want Christians to eat well, grow strong, and become mature. We’ll map out the course in the next post.

Travis Allen


Monday, September 19, 2011

Talking Tombstones

Pre-introduction: Prayer and greetings
Biographies of great Christians
Newton, Luther, Bunyan, Wesley, Hudson Taylor.
Expired parking meter with the date of expiration
I did it my way! (1000’s)
Mel Blanc, famous as the voice of thousands of characters, including Porky Pig; "That's all Folks."
Appearing all over the world, in at least two different languages is the famous epitaph "I told you I was sick."
NEW ORLEANS -- Shortly before he died, convicted murderer Richard Liggett was asked to make two of the simple plywood coffins he meticulously crafted for fellow prisoners. Except the caskets would be for Billy and Ruth Graham.

Burl Cain, warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary said, "He told me, of everything that ever happened in his life, the most profound thing was to build this coffin for Billy Graham and his family."
The prison has a Bible college and chapel near death row funded largely by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse.

Franklin Graham noticed some coffins being produced by the inmates on a visit to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana, in 2005. Upon inquiry, he learned this was a project inmates began several years ago when warden Burl Cain discovered that many of the poorer inmates were being buried in cardboard boxes.
Ruth Graham was buried in a private ceremony at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. She died at age 87 after a lengthy illness.

The coffins are made of birch plywood and lined with a foam mattress pad covered with fabric. Brass handles are on the sides, while a cross adorns the top. The price: $215 each.

But Liggett won't be among them: He died of cancer in March, nearly 31 years into his sentence. He was buried in one of the last coffins he built, Cain said.
Our passage today (Read Matthew 6:19-21) is almost always taught in the context of money and I have never been completely satisfied with that teaching. Teaching on wealth, riches and money using this passage just doesn’t seem to arrive at the deep meaning of this passage.
This passage is about what true eternal treasure is.
Our Lord Jesus Christ never uses the word money except in this context except for very last word in verse 24(mammon). This word, Mammon is a name given to an idol worshipped as the god of riches. They used the word to denote wealth.
Another way to define Mammon; Its wealth/money personified into an object of worship, a god or idol.
1 Timothy 6:7-10 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
History is replete with examples of people (Rich and Poor) collecting treasures just for themselves.

Biblical Examples: Acts 5 Ananias and his wife Sapphira
Demas who forsook Paul for the world

Esau who traded his birthright for a bowl of soup

Judas betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver

Right above our text Matthew 6:16 “If you want your reward on earth you got it.”

As we transition into this new material for today, understand this. Jesus is still talking about what true righteousness looks like.
So up to the Sermon on the Mount we go. Jesus is preaching to His disciples, crowds gather around. Luke tells us that there were Pharisees and Scribes in the crowd.
Then perhaps He looks at His disciples and points to the Pharisees.
I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20)
And like the rich young ruler they say “I have kept the Law”.
Did they keep the Law? What is the Law? (Exodus 20 and on, 600+ laws) The Pharisee religion was of works (Luke 11:39).
The equation O=B/D=C
Luke 16:14-15
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and scoffing at Him. 15 And He told them: "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts.
The Pharisees lived to keep the Law in order that they may maintain God’s blessing in material things. They wanted to live perfectly to show God and everyone else that they were His righteous people.
Examples of their vain external attempts
For instance, how far could a person walk on the Sabbath without it being work? The interpreters decided that the distance about 2/3 of a mile. This was known as a Sabbath’s day journey. (Still today)
The humbling Pharisee always kept his head down to appear humble.
The bleeding Pharisee who to keep from looking at a woman walked with his eyes closed and often was wounded.
The Pharisees worship an idol, money or mammon, and themselves.
The one person that a Pharisee wanted to be sure that got to Heaven was himself. “Thank you that I am not a woman” “Thank you that I am not like that Tax Collector” (Luke 18:10-12) and they had to have wealth to confirm their righteousness.
The thrust of this passage, the point the Lord Jesus is making in this passage is summed up in verse 24
Matthew 6:24 "No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.
Where your treasure is, is where your allegiance lies. God or money, earth or heaven?
Treasures on Earth
Matthew 6:19 "Don't (Don’t do, stop doing!)Collect for yourselves treasures (valuables) on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
Earthly things are not evil; God has given us resources to use. In His providence He provides us with the means to take care of our family, to save, to have a home, clothes, and food. (Matthew 6:26 His eye is on even the sparrow).He wants us to work and save for the future. If we are content with our possessions and money I don’t think He cares if we buy nice things, have a nice home, or take a vacation, go enjoy with thanksgiving the things that He has given to us.
And it is okay to be rich. Paul gives instructions to the rich in 1 Timothy 6
Instructions to the Rich
17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 [Instruct them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share.
But as Abraham Kuyper said: “There is not one square inch of the entire creation that Jesus Christ does not cry out “This is mine, this belongs to Me.” He is Lord of all we have; all we possess is really His.
The Jesus commands that we are not to “Collect” for “Ourselves” treasures on earth.
If desires are our treasure, if we collect things just for our time on earth (just for ourselves), Then we are slaves to our desires, eyes, bellies, and our jobs? We are bigger than this world, give us everything and we are still empty. Man’s desires are never met.

It’s really a waste of time and energy to collect things for ourselves a wasted effort. Job 1:21: Naked I came and naked I leave. The Lord gives and He takes away.

What’s the problem? It’s our view, our perspective is wrong we lack an Eternal Perspective and Eternal vision. Want Jesus commands is that we are not to live for this world (just in it); we are citizens of another Kingdom. These earthly treasures are so powerful that they grip the entire personality. They grip a man's heart, his mind and his will; they tend to affect his spirit, his soul and his whole being. Whatever realm of life we may be looking at, or thinking about, we shall find these things are there. Everyone is affected by them; they are a terrible danger.

Job 31:24-25, 28
24 If I placed my confidence in gold or called fine gold my trust,
25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth is great or because my own hand has acquired [so] much,
28 this would also be a crime deserving punishment, for I would have denied God above.

James 5 an Warning to the Rich who collect treasure on earth
2 Your wealth is ruined: your clothes are moth-eaten; 3 your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days!

John Wesley: “The real value of a thing is the price it will bring in eternity.”

Set your heart on nobler things, treasures in Heaven.

1 John 2: John tells us… Treasures on earth are forbidden

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
What are these “Treasures in Heaven”?
Matthew 6:20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal.
In Heaven
Colossians 3:1-2
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Man is more than body he is spirit. He is more than time he is eternal.
Revelation 21:23
We are citizens of the city that has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. We will have no need of clothes; our white robes never wear out. We will need no medicine to heal diseases and need no sleep to. Death will exist no longer (the thief cannot break in and steal); grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer.
What can we lay up in Heaven?
Our business on earth should be to spread that Kingdom. It should be the lifework of each man to bring others to the Gospel. Using whatever opportunities we may possess. Your stations in life, your education, your wealth—give all you can for the Kingdom.
The treasures are people that were exposed to the Gospel by our lives and giving. And by the Holy Spirit’s work they were saved sealed for heaven by believing that the Lord Jesus Christ died in their place for their sins and that He is their Lord and Savior.
(Some proof texts)
Philippians 4
1 So then, in this way, my dearly loved brothers, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, dear friends
2 Corinthians 4:7 and 14
7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.14 knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and present us with you.
Hebrews 11:39-40
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
We are treasures the fruit of Abraham, Moses, Rahab, David, Ruth, and Hosea
Would you or I like to have it—“Saved alone”? May we be able to say, “Here am I, and the treasure that You have given me.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13, 19–20
13 Also, this is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers.
19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
People we have never met will be in heaven to great us.
Where is your heart?
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 10 The parable of the Good Samaritan
Where is the Samaritan’s heart, who is his treasure? What did he use to secure his treasure? (Money and possessions help secure treasure)
The parable of the unjust steward: Luke 16:1-13
Who are unjust stewards? (Us)
What does he use to win friends? (Someone else’s money)
What are we called to do? (Be as shrewd with money for building the Kingdom as the world is shrewd with collecting money for themselves).

Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous money so that when it fails (or when you fail or pass away), they may welcome you into eternal dwellings.
Trusting us to be faithful to the call; Luke 16:13
Jim Elliot-That great missionary to Ecuador and then to the mysterious Auca Indian tribe "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep/ to gain that which he cannot lose."
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Do we have an eternal vision with our goal being to get as much treasure up to heaven as we can?
We will see God; we will be welcomed by those who we laid up treasure for and by those who laid up treasure for us. We will perhaps see returns on our eternal investments for generations after we have died.

Your job is a tool, not a treasure.
Your home is a tool, not a treasure.
Christian parents are God’s tool to lead their children to the Gospel.
Work in the mission field. (The Bixler’s and The Yoder’s and others)
Give to and serve in Gospel centered ministries. Haven of rest, Bible League, Missions, Gideon’s, teaching ministries, Rosedale, our church, invest time and money in people (like the Byler family)
Closing: Let’s look at some Tombstones and determine where the treasure lies
I did it my way! (Like the Rich Fool his life was demanded of him)
Livingstone was one of the first medical missionaries, the first in central Africa, and he was often the first European to meet local tribes. He won their trust as a healer and medicine man
The body of David Livingstone was buried in England where he was born, but his heart was buried in the Africa he loved. Britain wanted the body to give it a proper ceremony, but the tribe would not give his body to them. Finally they relented, but cut the heart out and put a note on the body that said, "You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!" Livingstone's heart was buried under a tree near the spot where he died.
If your heart were to be buried in the place you loved most during life, where would it be? Where is your heart?
This is what was on the closing of a paper that was passed out at Ken Stoltzfus’ calling hours explaining about his fight against brain cancer..............................
A few months ago Ken went to a local Amish friend and told him what kind of casket to make for him. It symbolizes his focus in life; that he would live simply and use the resources God had entrusted to him, to make HIS love known to the ends of the earth. It is true that "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants." Psalm 116:15

Ken served on the boards of Kingsway Christian School (Orrville, OH), and Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association (Harrisonburg, VA), and as Treasurer and Elder at his home church, MCA, in Fredericksburg, OH. He was also deeply vested in JAARS, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Focus on the Family, Crown Financial Ministries, and several prison ministries.
There is no doubt Ken had treasure in heaven waiting for him and treasure yet to come.
Job’s tombstone: Job 19:23-27
23 I wish that my words were written down,
that they were recorded on a scroll
24 or were inscribed in stone forever
by an iron stylus and lead!
25 But I know my living Redeemer,
and He will stand on the dust at last.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
27 I will see Him myself;
my eyes will look at [Him], and not as a stranger. [f]
My heart longs within me.
Your treasure is where your heart is; ask yourselves if they buried my heart with my treasured things where would it be?
Closing prayer: Ephesians 3:20

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Divine Gardner: From Grace Gems

The divine Gardener

(J. R. Miller, "How to Live a Beautiful Christian Life" 1880)

We may think that our lot is especially hard--and may wish that it were otherwise. We may wish that we had a life of ease and luxury, amid softer scenes--with no briers or thorns, no worries or provocations. We think that then we would be always gentle, patient, serene, trustful, happy. How delightful it would be--never to have a care, an irritation, a trouble, a single vexing thing!

But the fact remains--that the place in which we find ourselves--is the very place in which the Master desires us to live our life! There is no haphazard in God's world. God leads every one of His children by the right way. He knows where and under what influences, each particular life will ripen best.

One tree grows best in the sheltered valley, another by the water's edge, another on the bleak mountain-top swept by storms. Every tree or plant is found in the precise locality to enhance its growth. And does God give more thought to trees and plants--than to His own children? No!

He places us amid the circumstances and experiences in which our life will grow and ripen the best. The peculiar trials to which we are each subjected--is the exact discipline we each need to bring out the beauties and graces of true spiritual character in us. We are in the right school. We may think that we would ripen more quickly--in a more easy and luxurious life. But God knows what is best for us--He makes no mistakes!

There is a little fable which says that a primrose growing by itself in a shady corner of the garden, became discontented as it saw the other flowers in their mirthful beds in the sunshine, and begged to be moved to a more conspicuous place. Its prayer was granted. The gardener transplanted it to a more showy and sunny spot. It was greatly pleased--but a change came over it immediately. Its blossoms lost much of their beauty, and became pale and sickly. The hot sun caused them to faint and wither. So it prayed again to be taken back to its old place in the shade. The wise gardener knows best, where to plant each flower.

Just so, God, The divine Gardener, knows where His people will best grow into what He would have them to be. Some require the fierce storms; some will only thrive in the shadow of worldly adversity; and some come to ripeness more sweetly under the soft and gentle influences of prosperity--whose beauty, rough experiences would mar. The divine Gardener knows what is best for each one!

There is no position in this world in the allotment of Providence, in which it is not possible to be a true Christian, exemplifying all the virtues of godliness. The grace of Christ has in it, potency enough to enable us to live godly--wherever we are called to dwell. When God chooses a home for us--He fits us for its peculiar trials.

God adapts His grace to the peculiarities of each one's necessity. For rough, flinty paths--He provides shoes of iron. He never sends anyone to climb sharp, rugged mountain-sides, wearing silken slippers. He always gives sufficient grace. As the burdens grow heavier--the strength increases. As the difficulties thicken--He draws closer. As the trials become sorer--the trusting heart grows calmer.

Jesus always sees His disciples, when they are toiling in the waves--and at the right moment He comes to deliver them. Thus it becomes possible to live a true and victorious life--in any circumstances.

Christ can as easily enable Joseph to remain pure and true in heathen Egypt--as Benjamin in the shelter of his father's love. The sharper the temptations--the more of divine grace is granted. There is, therefore, no environment of trial, or difficulty or hardship--in which we cannot live beautiful lives of Christian fidelity and holy conduct.

Instead, then, of yielding to discouragement when trials multiply and it becomes hard to live right, or of being satisfied with a very faulty life--it should be our settled purpose to live, through the grace of God--a patient, gentle and unspotted life--in the place, and amid the circumstances, He allots to us. The true victory is not found in escaping or evading trials--but in rightly meeting and enduring them.

The questions should not be, "How can I get out of these worries? How can I get into a place where there shall be no irritations, nothing to try my temper or put my patience to the test? How can I avoid the distractions that continually harass me?" There is nothing noble in such living.

The questions should rather be, "How can I pass through these trying experiences--and not fail as a Christian? How can I endure these struggles--and not suffer defeat? How can I live amid these provocations, these testings of my temper--and yet live sweetly, not speaking unadvisedly, bearing injuries meekly, returning gentle answers to insulting words?" This is the true problem of Christian living.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Job 25:4-6 Worm

Job 25:4-6 (New King James)
4 How then can man be righteous before God?
Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?
5 If even the moon does not shine,
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
6 How much less man, who is a maggot,
And a son of man, who is a worm?”

This passage asks how man can be considered pure in the eyes of God when even the purest in His sight is blemished. Several times in the Bible is man considered nothing more than a worm?

Two different Hebrew words for worm; the first, Rimmah, means maggots (The second is “Tola or Towla”) this is symbolic. When do you see maggots? When something is rotting or decaying. In the Bible, mankind is considered rimmah, not because they are the smallest, and most disgusting of all worms, but because of the DECAY that man is constantly undergoing. We start dying from the moment we are born. It does not denote our lowliness, but our mortal sorrow; our ever-present knowledge and fear of decrement, and death from the moment we're born. Let's face it; mankind is decaying because of our sin.

Psalm 22 Gospel Account of the Crucifixion
1. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Matt 27:46 ...Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
7. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake their head saying, Matt 27:39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads
8. He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him!" Matt 27:43 "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now ..."
12. Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. Matt 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
14. I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; ... And my tongue clings to My Jaws... John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"
16. ...The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; Luke 23:33 And when they came to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
17. I can count all My bones. They look and stare at me. John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
18. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. Mark 15:24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.

John 19:30 So when Jesus received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Jesus' last act was to sacrifice His life for us. His last words were, "It is finished".

Now consider Psalm 22:6 in particular:
"But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people"

Christ would not associate Himself with the maggots that represent a sinful life symbolized by the word 'rimmah'. Psalm 22:6 has another Hebrew translation for the word worm. "Tola"(strong’s #8438) its full name is Tola'at Shani; or Scarlet Worm (Coccus Ilicis.) This worm is actually a scale insect that feeds on the sap of an Oak Tree.
The breed is still alive to this day and can be found in and surrounding the nation of Israel.

They were oftentimes harvested by the Israelites for the worm's brilliant crimson blood. It acted as a potent dye for wool, hence its name, the Scarlet Worm.

Extracting this dye is a very difficult task, making it extremely valuable. It would have been used only for royal or holy garments, and palace or temple decorations. In some cases, it has been recorded that it was even used as rent money.

The worm was carefully removed from the tree, taken back home, and they would crush the worms body over a glass of boiling water.

Scarlet (Tola) had to use in the Old Testament sacrificial system which pointed to Christ. Exodus 39, Numbers 4 and 9, Leviticus 14 and 19:6. In Lev. 14:4-52 scarlet (Tola), wood, and hyssop were used together.

Herod put a robe of mockery on the Lord Jesus, the color was scarlet (Luke 23:11). The veil that was torn into (top to bottom) was scarlet (Matthew 27:28).

Consider the life of this Tola worm, during her larva stage, she will do her thing on the ground until maturity, when she climbs a tree, rich with branches and sap. If not harvested she will adhere to the tree without moving until (ultimately eating herself to) death. If left to die, (not to be confused with dye) her body will actually burst right on the tree leaving behind a scarlet stain.

Stuck to a tree, dying, spillage of blood?
This blood stain actually creates a thick, sticky film. In due time, when the blood finally dries, as weather affects it, it turns as white and falls off the tree, much like falling snow.

Isaiah 1:18-
"...though your sins be as (Tola) scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like (Tola) crimson, they shall be as wool."
Psalm 51:7-
7Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
She lays eggs right before she dies. It is her last act in life, as well as her most important! Her sticky spilt blood acts as an incubator for the eggs. Once the pure white flakes fall from the tree, the eggs are ready to hatch. If she does not die on the tree her children cannot LIVE!!! --Hebrews 2:10; For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 9:13-14 (New King James Version)
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

After Pilate washes his hands and gives Jesus over to the mob, they assure his innocence in the matter by exclaiming, "His blood be on us and our children!" This is a picture of a perfect sacrifice. But it doesn't end there. What happens when the burden of guilt spills upon you and your children as the mob promised above? Let me show you some other instances of the Tola translation of the word worm:

Isaiah 66:24
“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Mark 9:43-48
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where

‘ Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where

‘ Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where

‘ Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Jeremiah 4:30; And you, O desolate one, what will you do?
Although you dress in scarlet,
Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold,
Although you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you make yourself beautiful
Your lovers despise you;
They seek your life.

The TRUE "Worm Theology", that everyone is missing out on, has nothing to do with our self-esteem or lack there-of. If this Tola worm (Jesus) does not die; we cannot be resurrected into heaven. Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”
Job 25:4-6 again:"HOW THEN CAN MAN BE JUSTIFIED WITH GOD, or HOW CAN HE BE CLEAN that is born of a woman?
Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in His sight.
How much less man, that is a MAGGOT? And the SON OF MAN; which is a (TOLA) worm?"

Another interesting thing about the Tola worm, its taxonomic name is Coccus Ilicis. Coccus comes from the Latin, coccinus which means scarlet. It was derived from the Greek, kokkos (berry)

Ilicis is Latin; in Latin it means “It is finished”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Albert Pujols by Phil Johnson

01 April 2011

Cubs' Opening Day

Albert Pujols? Seriously?
by Phil Johnson

Today I'm going to recommend a book about Albert Pujols. But I need to preface it with a disclaimer.

I really hate the Cardinals.

A little personal history: I was a casual Cardinals fan for awhile in my adolescence. I grew up in Tulsa, and the Cardinals' Triple-A farm club was based in Tulsa in the late '60s. So a local radio station broadcast all the Cardinals' games. I listened to a lot of games, and naturally, I more or less thought of myself as a Cardinals fan.

But I turned against the Cardinals during high school because (get this:) I found Harry Caray irritating in the extreme. (He and Jack Buck were the Cardinals' announcers in those days.)

After high school I went away to Moody Bible Institute and stayed in Chicago for most of the '70s. I met Darlene for the first time during the last week of June 1977, and fifteen minutes after meeting her I invited her to come with me to a baseball game that weekend. So our very first date was at Wrigley Field. (There's even a brick in the pavement at Wrigley today commemorating the event.)

Darlene and I were married two weeks shy of the anniversary of that first date, and our first apartment was a block from Wrigley. So you see: no matter how badly the Cubs do—and their bungling frequently exceeds even my worst expectations—we are locked-in, lifelong, die-hard Cubs fans.

All true Cubs fans hate the Cardinals. When you invest your emotional energies in a team who are perennial losers, it tends to stir even stronger (and certainly darker) passions than a winning team would. The Cardinals are the Cubs' closest, oldest rivals, and let's be candid: Cardinals fans are punks. Plus, the Cardinals sent Harry Caray to Chicago. So there's a lot of pent-up, well-deserved hate.

Yet (and in all candor this seriously troubles everyone else in my family) I've always liked Albert Pujols. Not when he's playing the Cubs, mind you. But when he's playing any other team, I love to see him do well. He's a truly great baseball player with the potential to be one of the greatest ever. More than that, I like it that he is bold with his testimony for Christ. But I didn't realize how bold, until I read this in Pujols: More than the Game, by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth:

When an opposing player would get to first base, [Pujols] would ask them, "What do you think is going to happen to you when you die?" or "If you died today, where do you think you’re going to go?" (p. 141)

By the way, in yesterday's opener, Pujols tied a major league record by grounding into three double plays. And that's an achievement every Cubs fan can applaud.

Thanks to TeamPyro.blogspot

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Heretic?

hy do so many evangelicals act as if false teachers in the church could never be a serious problem in this generation? Vast numbers seem convinced that they are "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that [they] are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17).

In reality, the church today is quite possibly more susceptible to false teachers, doctrinal saboteurs, and spiritual terrorism than any other generation in church history. Biblical ignorance within the church may well be deeper and more widespread than at any other time since the Protestant Reformation. If you doubt that, compare the typical sermon of today with a randomly-chosen published sermon from any leading evangelical preacher prior to 1850. Also compare today's Christian literature with almost anything published by evangelical publishing houses a hundred years ago or more.

Bible teaching, even in the best of venues today, has been deliberately dumbed-down, made as broad and as shallow as possible, over-simplified, adapted to the lowest common denominator—and then tailored to appeal to people with short attention spans. Sermons are almost always brief, simplistic, overlaid with as many references to pop culture as possible, and laden with anecdotes and illustrations. (Jokes and funny stories drawn from personal experience are favored over cross-references and analogies borrowed from Scripture itself.) Typical sermon topics are heavily weighted in favor of man-centered issues (such as personal relationships, successful living, self-esteem, how-to lists, and whatnot)—to the exclusion of the many Christ-exalting doctrinal themes of Scripture.

In other words, what most contemporary preachers do is virtually the opposite of what Paul was describing when he said he sought "to declare . . . the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). Not only that, but here's how Paul explained his own approach to gospel ministry, even among unchurched pagans in the most debauched Roman culture:

I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Notice: he deliberately refused to customize his message or adjust his delivery to suit the Corinthians' philosophical bent or their cultural tastes. He had no thought of catering to a particular generation's preferences, and he used no gimmicks as attention-getters. Whatever antonym you can think of for the word showmanship would probably be a good description of Paul's style of public ministry. He wanted to make it clear to everyone (including the Corinthian converts themselves) that lives and hearts are renewed by means of the Word of God, and by nothing else. That way they would begin to understand and appreciate the power of the gospel message.

By contrast, today's church-growth experts seem to have no confidence in Scripture's power. They are convinced the gospel needs to be "contextualized," streamlined, and revamped anew for every generation. Forty years of that approach has left evangelicals grossly untaught, wholly unprepared to defend the truth, and almost entirely unaware of how much is at stake. The evangelical movement itself has become a monstrosity, its vast size and visibility belying its almost total spiritual failure. One thing is certain: the cumbersome movement that most people today would label "evangelical" is populated with large numbers of people who are on the wrong side in the Truth War.

We are right back in the same situation the church was in a hundred years ago, when modernists were busily re-inventing the Christian faith. Far from being a strong voice and a powerful force for the cause of truth, the evangelical movement itself has become the main battleground.

Labels: John MacArthur, The Truth War

Posted by Phil Johnson on Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Men with breast

Men with Breasts
From; Banner of Trith

Only be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:7)

We seem to be like the proverbial frog in the pan of water on the stove. As the water is slowly heated the frog is unaware of his perilous condition until it is too late and he is boiled to his death. We seem to be like fish in water. They do not know their environment because they have never known anything else. The feminization of men in the western world is a stark reality that many fail to see. It is so much a part of our culture that younger men in particular largely do not see it. If C.S. Lewis wrote of Men with Chests,1 I suggest we now have a culture of men with breasts, men who act more like women than men.

As God called Joshua to take over for Moses, as he was to lead Israel into the Promised Land, he told him to be strong and courageous, that the ground of his confidence was the fact that as he had been with Moses, so he would be with Joshua. It is time for men to be strong and courageous, but in order to be that we must see the rampant feminization of the western man. What are the characteristics of men with breasts? I list ten of them in no particular order.

One, sentimentality. Men seem to live on their feelings, being far too subjective, eschewing the necessity of objectivity. Men are told from childhood to 'get in touch with their feelings,' to express how they feel to other men, to bare their souls, to let others know their fears, struggles, and failures. Listen to how many men speak today. They say, 'I feel good about my job. I feel good about my marriage right now.'

Two, role-reversal. Moses in Genesis 1 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 both make clear that the wife is the helper of her husband. He is to tend the garden. He is to lead the family. In other words the husband is the provider and the wife is to assist him in his labours, freeing him to go out into the world and make a living for his family. Today, however, I see many couples who have this reversed. The husband is his wife’s help-mate. So, men stay home from work to babysit the children while the wife does her thing. Men who get home late from a trip and have an early morning meeting the next day are expected to stay up for an hour or two with a sick child while the wife sleeps. I know this may be controversial and by all means, husbands and fathers are to sacrifice for their families, but I wonder how much of this is fuelled by couples seeing the husband as the one to help his wife in her role.

Three, aversion to duty. We often hear today that a man ought to find a job he truly loves and do it, even if it puts a financial hardship on the family. I am all for men finding jobs they truly enjoy but what if that is not a possibility! Then what? Most men of the World War II and Korean War generations stuck with hard or boring work because they understood duty. They knew they had to provide for their families.

Four, irresponsibility. This goes back to Adam’s sin in the garden when he blamed Eve for his disobedience. Men have been doing it since, but now many take it to a higher level. Young men delay entry into the work force so they can 'hang out' in Aspen for a year or two. They delay marriage because they don’t want the responsibility, putting hardship on women whose child-bearing clock is ticking, who find it necessary to enter the job market when really what most of them want is to have children and rear them.

Five, many men today expect their wives to work outside the home, to provide a second income so they can enjoy the finer things of life. I have never said that women cannot or should not work outside the home (some really love it), only that their primary responsibility is the home. Unfortunately women who work outside the home are expected to work inside the home too.

Six, selfishness. It seems that many men today are all about their hobbies, sports, guy time, and television programmes. They seem to think they can come and go as they please. If one tendency is effeminate aversion to duty, then another is machismo, assuming they can run roughshod over their wives.

Seven, emotionalism. This is similar to sentimentality but with this difference — emotionalism is a state of being where a man is dominated by his feelings. He cannot seem to get past them. He is depressed. He is fearful and anxious. He feels bad about himself. He is paralyzed with fear. He cannot seem to get going in the morning. He wallows in his misery and looks for other men who will commiserate with him. Men’s groups like these remind me of the women in Jerry Maguire2 who are weeping and baring their souls to one another in their support group. Men who indiscriminately 'bare their souls' do not inspire leadership in their wives and children. Leadership can be a lonely existence. Sometimes a man must suffer alone, pouring out his soul to God, his only refuge and strength.

Eight, transference. Again, this is similar to irresponsibility but with a deeper meaning. I have long observed that men who became addicted to pornography, alcohol, or drugs in their teen years seem to have their emotional development arrested at the very time they began their addictions of choice. So forty or fifty year old men who began taking drugs at fifteen still act like fifteen year olds, and one of the ways this shows up is an unwillingness to accept rebuke, criticism, or to own up to one’s sinful living, just like fifteen year old boys. They are masters, yea have finely developed over the years the art of transference, blame shifting. It is always the wife’s fault, the boss’s fault. This is so terribly effeminate!

Nine, an aversion to pain and self-discipline. The effeminate man will do anything to avoid the pain of hard work, making the hard choices, telling his children 'No.' He is undisciplined in his eating and sleeping habits, sloppy in his dress and speech, inconsistent in personal and family worship. He prefers to let his wife do the hard things with the children. He sleeps in while she gets up early to feed the children. He watches television at night while she reads to them and tucks them into bed. And . . .

Ten, abandonment. While this unfortunately and dreadfully has been true in the African American and Hispanic communities for some time due no doubt to the ravages of a failed welfare system which castrates men — this is most certainly also true in the white community today. Men regularly leave their wives and children for other women, telling themselves that their wives do not understand them, don’t meet their emotional and physical needs, convincing themselves that the children will be okay with this, that they surely want to see their daddy happy. Men abandon their families for money, caving into the corporate ethos of giving one’s life for the sake of the company, telling themselves that they must work these ridiculous hours in order to provide well for their families. Do you not see this in today’s men? Why is this so and what is the remedy? See the devotional 'Why Men with Breasts.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Real War in Afghanistan; Evil looks out for evil

From;Voddie Bauchman

Thursday, September 2, 2010
There is indeed a war going on in Afghanistan. In fact, there are two. One is being fought with bullets, bombs, and boots on the ground. The other war (the one with more lasting importance) is being fought in an entirely different theater. In this other war, the real enemy of the Afghan people is sin and darkness. Perhaps the most vile expression of this is their treatment of women and boys. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle (of all places) exposes the fact that Afghanistan is a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. This strict Muslim country has “become the [homosexual] pedophilia capital of Asia”. Joel Brinkley notes:

“For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player." The men like to boast about it.”

Brinkley’s piece, which is at times very hard to read, uncovers a dark side of Afghanistan’s already seedy culture. We know about the Taliban and the opium trade; we’ve heard the stories about the treatment of women. However, most people were oblivious to this. And we’re not talking about an isolated incident:

“In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called "dancing boys" a "widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape."

Our troops, no matter how successful, will not eradicate this evil. This is not an economic, political, or social problem. This is a sin problem. In a classic example of humanistic assessment of a sin problem, the story continues:

“Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghan men cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can't even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle.”

Were this the case, one would expect pedophilia to be non-existent in the permissive, semi-pornographic west, where women routinely put their bodies on display. However, this is not the case. Homosexuality is an abomination that has existed throughout much of human history (see Gen 19; Lev. 18; Rom 1, etc.), and the Bible makes it clear that it is not the byproduct of modesty (no matter how draconian the form). These men are not deprived; they’re depraved (Rom 1:26–27). This is evidenced by the fact that they continue the practice after marriage:

“Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Afghan expression goes: "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." Fundamentalist imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are "unclean" and therefore distasteful. One married man even asked Cardinalli's team "how his wife could become pregnant," her report said. When that was explained, he "reacted with disgust" and asked, "How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean?"

While some will merely chalk this up to “strict religion,” I beg to differ. Compare this worldview with that of the Bible. Would this man come away with such an attitude after reading Song of Solomon, for example:

“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.” (Song of Solomon 4:9–15)

I could quote more, but I think you get the point. Not all religions are created equal. The oppression and exploitation of women is a real problem in the Islamic world, and neither our bombs, bullets, nor our “Democracy” will stem the tide. These issues will not go away with the death of a few “radicals,” or the election of “moderates” who have grown up in this spiritual sewage and learned to turn a blind eye. This is a problem that requires something more powerful. Afghanistan needs the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The real battle in Afghanistan will rage long after hostilities have ceased. As the apostle Paul noted:

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Cor 10:4–6)

The story concludes on a crucial note, “Addressing the loathsome mistreatment of Afghan women remains a primary goal for coalition governments, as it should be...But what about the boys, thousands upon thousands of little boys who are victims of serial rape over many years, destroying their lives - and Afghan society.” The long-term impact of such practices is already clear. This is a culture in bondage to sin. The next generation is being forged in the crucible of war, drugs, and sodomy. Regardless of how many “free elections” they have, Afghanistan’s future is bleak.

Biblical Christianity offers a clear alternative:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:25–33)

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Pet 3:7)

It is no coincidence that predominantly, the worst treatment of women on the planet is taking place in the Islamic World. Unfortunately, the world’s answer is to make attempts to equate Islam and Christianity as though the two are equivalent morally, and to kowtow to Muslims for fear of retribution (see here, for example). As a result, the very important discussion about the way the Bible has transformed civilization for the better has been all but silenced.

Nevertheless, we must continue to proclaim the truth. We must continue to herald the gospel to those in the Muslim world. They must know that Christ offers the forgiveness, hope and transformation they seek but cannot find. The Bible also offers a clear assessment of and answer to the sin of homosexuality. Unfortunately, while America has built an imposing military arsenal, we have decided to disarm when it comes to the spiritual side of this battle. In fact, we have our own Kandahar (i.e., homosexual hotbeds like San Francisco and New York, and organizations like the North American Man/Boy Love Association, etc.).

Remember, ours is the Country where GLSEN founder, Kevin Jennings, promotes and advances this kind of sin, then gets to work in the White House (see here). We’re the Country whose President was the keynote speaker at one of, if not the largest homosexual fundraiser in the world where he apologized for not moving faster to fulfill the promises he made to them on the campaign trail (including gay marriage, repealing don’t ask/don’t tell and DOMA, enacting hate crimes legislation, ENDA, etc.). I say this, not to change the subject, but to demonstrate the great irony. If one rejects God’s word as it relates to homosexuality, on what grounds does he object to the activity in Afghanistan? Moreover, once we have started down that slippery slope, how long will it be before we become so calloused and jaded that we are no longer burdened by stories like this one?

As we continue to pray for our men and women in uniform, let us not forget to pray for those brave souls who love our Lord, and love the Afghan people by fighting the unseen battle there. Pray for the families of missionaries who lost their lives there recently, and others who remain. And “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) There is hope for Afghanistan. His name is Jesus; “he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)

For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in TRUTH

-3 John 3,4 ESV

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two funerals; Why I am an Anabaptist

Over the last couple of weeks I went to two funerals related to work. The first a husband of the owner of our company, he owned several companies on his own. 62 years old and died from complications from the stomach flu. The family has assets well into the 100's of millions dollars. The man basically never attended church, cared not for Christ. But he did not worry about his eternal state because he was baptised as a baby in the Catholic church.

His funeral was in a giant Catholic church in Columbus, filled with the upper crust of society. The priest let it be known that this man was in heaven (or purgatory) because of his infant baptism. The whole crowd sang almost too joyfully Amazing Grace, as if they were resting in the same hope (infant baptism).

You see this is one of the very reasons that I align with Anabaptist theology. Resting on your infant baptism for eternal bliss and disregarding the Savior is the wide road. Matthew 7:13-14; The Narrow and Wide Gates 13"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What a cruel, wicked thing it is to teach and to reassure people that they can get to heaven by someone sprinkling water on their little head as a baby and getting a certificate to heaven. The moment after this man died he may have been wondering why he is in a place of torment, I sure he has thought it through and he bitterly hates those who assured him that he was saved.

The second funeral, a daughter of one of our district managers. 38 years old with a husband and two young sons died of breast cancer. Her funeral was in a modest funeral home which was packed with 50 or so friends and relatives. The difference, the pastor let everyone know that Jenn is in heaven because she trusted in her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing else. The pastor laid down the Gospel to everyone there and challenged her husband to raise their two boys by the Bible.

Two lives one with the Lord Jesus Christ and one very likely in eternal torment partly because of good and bad theology.

Luke 16:21-23 (New American Standard Bible)

21and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.

22"Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to (A)Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.

23"In (B)Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Who pays for your spouse’s sin? Your spouse or Christ?

Here is a life changing article from Competent Counseling

Who pays for your spouse’s sin? Your spouse or Christ?
Posted on 17 January 2011 Tags:
Christians understand the point of the Gospel: Christ paid for our sins. The profundity of the Gospel capsulated in five words. When Adam chose to walk away from God in the garden by believing a lie, God instituted a plan to redeem Adam and his fallen race.
In order to do that there had to be a payment for sin. Sin could not go unpunished. Even the pagan world understands this. Last week there was a horrible slaughter in Arizona where six people were mercilessly murdered. President Obama made an impassioned speech and talked about how these murders would not go unpunished.
And he is right. What kind of world would it be if there were no justice? As you know, the justice in our world is inconsistent at best. Thankfully, the hope for the Christian is not in the justice of this world. We serve a God who is The Judge and He demands justice for sin. Imagine a God who did not demand justice.
God’s justice is only the beginning of the good news for us. Yes, sin demands a punishment and every sin will be punished. However, in the infinite wisdom of the Father, He decided to make a way for you and me (assuming you are a Christian) to not be punished for our sin.
Here comes the Judged
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son and whoever believes in the Son will not receive the punishment for sin that he/she justly deserves. (John 3:16) However, for those who do not accept the Gospel, he/she will be punished for his/her sin. (John 3:36) All sin will be punished. Either Jesus Christ will be punished for you or you will be punished eternally for your sin. It’s your choice.
Who pays for your spouse’s sin?
Let’s suppose my wife, Lucia, sins and I get angry with her as a response to her sin. In such a case, which sadly is how it goes in our home from time to time, I would be punishing her for her sin. I would be acting as “God” by demanding justice, while completely missing the Gospel. Christ bore the Father’s wrath, died, and rose from the grave in order to accomplish salvation for anyone who authentically believes this story. Thankfully, Lucia was regenerated by the grace of God many years ago. Her sin, past, present, and future has been paid for because of the Gospel.
When I respond in anger to her sin, I am making her do what Christ would never do. I am punishing her.
Sacrifice or Punishment?
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. – Ephesians 5:25-26 (ESV)
Christ did not make me pay for my sin. He sacrificed for my sin by giving His life for me. If I truly understand the Gospel in the moment of my wife’s sin, my response would be a Gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than self-centered punishment.
Therefore, rather than choosing anger (punishment) as a response to her sin, I must choose an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice) when she sins against me. Too often I choose anger and when I do, it distorts our relationship. Rather than serving my wife, by helping her get to Christ where she can be forgiven, I convolute the situation by sinning in response to her sin.
I become the judge and, thus, feel justified to make her pay for her sin. This is an emasculation of the Gospel. It mocks Christ’s death. I am saying in essence,
I don’t care that You died for her sin. She has sinned against me and I am going to circumvent what You did on the cross by making her pay right now. Sin demands a punishment and I feel it would be better if she received my punishment rather than allowing her to experience the cleansing power of the Gospel. Yes, You were bruised for her iniquities, but right now I feel the need to bruise her for her iniquities. (Isaiah 53:6)
However, when I am practically applying the Gospel in the moment of her sin I am living out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:25-26. Our relationship is not distorted by my sin, while my wife is being sanctified, cleansed, and washed by God’s Word. Rather than me forcing sanctification through fear and intimidation, she experiences the freedom, favor, and power of the Cross in her life where true cleansing happens.
My goal is for my wife to walk in holiness. However, when I punish her rather than forgiving her for her sin, I am making it harder for her to accomplish the very thing that I desire the most for her.
Do you punish your spouse?
It’s time to put your Christianity to the test: When your spouse sins against you, do you punish or sacrifice? Let’s suppose you have discovered your husband’s porn addiction. Is the Gospel real in that moment? What governs your heart when he sins: a desire to punish him or a desire to help him get to Christ where he can be forgiven and changed.
When your spouse disappoints you for the umpteenth time, what is the ruling motive of your heart? Can you rest in God the Judge, or are you compelled to be your spouse’s judge?
When you sin…again…are you tempted to punish yourself through a stringent moralism, or do you appropriate the releasing forgiveness that is found in Christ’s work on the cross?
Dear Church, if our Gospel means anything, then it must be real in the moment of our sin, whether it is yours or mine. Otherwise, there is no redemptive purpose in His sacrifice.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Tomorow Clubs

Check out this outstanding organization taking the Gospel to hopeless children in the Ukraine.

The Tomorrow Clubs children’s ministry was started by Cindy Marty. Cindy and her husband, Paul, had a burden for helping the people in the former Soviet Union and had been praying about an opportunity to serve ever since the Iron Curtain fell. They traveled to both Russia and Ukraine and a love for the people of Ukraine grew in their hearts.
In the spring of 1997, HOPE International, a Lancaster-based, Christ-centered network of microfinance institutions was seeking a director to begin its microfinance operations in Ukraine. Paul and Cindy Marty heard about the mission of HOPE and sensed a call to this ministry. The Martys moved to Zaporozhye, Ukraine to head up HOPE’s program.
Cindy Marty soon discovered that Ukraine’s children had little hope for their future and very few opportunities to hear about Jesus and the relationship they could have with Him. She dreamed of creating a weekly club where children could hear about the love of Jesus, learn new skills through hobby classes, and build relationships with Christ-following mentors. Tomorrow Clubs is the fruition of her dream.
Initially, the Tomorrow Clubs ministry was a direct part of HOPE International. Both HOPE International’s microfinance program in Ukraine and the Tomorrow Clubs ministry continued to grow at a rapid pace. In November of 2007 the Tomorrow Clubs became a separate local organization, supported in part by the profits from HOPE International’s microfinance program in Ukraine. At the same time Cindy Marty handed over the leadership of the Tomorrow Clubs ministry to Ukrainian leader Yuri Kipot.
Today the Tomorrow Clubs ministry is run completely by a local Ukrainian staff. The ministry is impacting over 11,000 Ukrainian children each week, 70% of which are unchurched children. Tomorrow Clubs have spread throughout the country and even into Russia. Over 390 clubs operate on a weekly basis, staffed by 1,500 Ukrainian volunteers. Tomorrow Clubs have had tremendous success in partnering with local churches in Ukraine to support and operate these clubs. The Tomorrow Clubs’ volunteers are channeled through the local churches, and when children and their parents become interested in attending church services, Tomorrow Club leaders connect them to local congregations.
Board Members:
Cindy Marty - Board Chairperson - Founder of Tomorrow Clubs (Krakow, Poland)
Paul Marty - Former Managing Director, Nadiya Ukraine Microfinance Program (Krakow, Poland)
Andre Barkov - Managing Director, Nadiya Ukraine Microfinance Program (Kiev, Ukraine)
Jesse Casler - Director of Programs, HOPE International (Lancaster, PA)
Yuriy Kipot - Tomorrow Clubs Director (Kiev, Ukraine)