Search This Blog

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas - Just Tradition & Covetousness, Or A God Glorifying Opportunity?

A friend of mine wrote a blog post which talked about how coveting is a big part of what people do at Christmastime, and it mentioned how Christmas is a tradition of the world.

I'm sure it was true when I was a child that I had plenty of greed when it came to gifts...wanting more sometimes, but I want to give another perspective before people chuck celebrating out the window.

No, Christians don't celebrate "mass." Lots of words could be changed though, if we analyzed them enough.

Santa - I was not deceived into believing in a mythical Santa as a child, and the gifts we gave each other were known to be from each other.
As an adult, sometimes we have fun earlier in December putting out wooden shoes to give each other small things like slipper socks and candy.
It's not about Christmas though.  There was a historical guy who was kind-hearted, but honestly it's just something fun a family member wanted to do related to ancestral heritage.

Trees, decorations, and nativity scenes - There may have been both Christian and non-Christian origins for different decorations. Some may have had Christian origins while others did not. We may have gone without a tree for a time, but we have a fake one now.
Actually, am probably mostly an iconoclastic type of person (a word I derived from the historical Theology course online) when it comes to images of Christ.
I do not always put out the fake baby Jesus, or I cover it.
I put the wise men ( I think one of our sets has 4 - though we don't know exactly how many there were) to the side, because I know they came later.
They did see His star in the East though.  That's how they knew when He was born.

Gifts - Our family at some point in our lives decided to limit the price of gifts for each other, so that the price is maybe $10 per person.
In our house, we open gifts Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve day) which leaves Christmas day entirely to Jesus' Birthday.
Gifts can be to symbolize giving to each other as God has blessed us, or just a bit of celebrating like eating good food.
Whatever symbolism it has for you, there is nothing inherently wrong with giving to others.
When I was young and couldn't afford a lot of gifts, sometimes a gift could be a piece of paper or something that offered washing the car (which I might get money for otherwise), or people might even offer back rubs or something. 
We also choose a Christian project to give to before Christmas.
It's about giving to the Lord.  If we are going to choose to celebrate a day to remember His birth, then we should give to Him.
When we were young, I believe we had a birthday cake for Jesus. Okay, it might seem silly, but it is something a child relates to.

I enjoy thinking about when Jesus was born and listening to Christmas songs, and though celebrating Christ's birth is not a hill to die on or to be considered equal to Biblical mandates, it can truly be a joyous freedom as found in Romans 14 (celebrating a day for the Lord).

Hearing the story of Jesus birth (born of a virgin - who was NOT sinless and called God her Savior), and then either listening to or singing Christmas carols can be fun. 
Jesus wasn't simply another man. He was 100% God and 100% man. Many false religions deny this truth. We can't even fathom the truth of who He is enough I think.
That He lived a perfect life and suffered and died being punished for the sins of undeserving rebellious sinners --- and that He rose again to justify those predestined to be adopted as children of God.  This is where His birth led to.
This was the plan.

It's good to examine things, and it's a matter of one's own conscience and convictions.
So, if your tradition causes you to sin, then I would recommend changing it.
Otherwise, I don't need to agonize.  I can pick and choose temporal traditions that I don't find sinful, but I don't expect the world to celebrate Christ for who He is.
We don't need to demand unbelievers say Merry Christmas.

It's a great time of year for evangelism.
If some people who are unbelievers want to talk about Christmas and celebrate the Christ they don't believe in, then we can find ways to let them know who Jesus is.  You can even send cards to people in the phone book with Gospel tracts or messages (if you are like me and don't get out a lot).

Write a blog post, or do a video.
Able-bodied people can use the shopping frenzy to hand out Gospel tracts.

 

If you are not a Christian, please watch this: 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankfulness & A Cute Video

What are you thankful for? Who are you thankful to?
Ephesians 5:20 tells me to be thankful for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
I need to lead my thoughts to remember God's goodness and greatness, and how He has always provided my needs, and how He uses even the difficult times.
Even though I've been feeling low lately, as I've heard it said before...I need to talk to myself instead of listening to myself.


Verses on Thankfulness

What Does The Bible Say About Thankfulness / Gratitude? 

The following video is just for fun.
Certainly it would not stand a solid fact checking test, but it is amusing!




Monday, November 23, 2015

Trouble in Africa - Exposing the Word of Faith Movement

The Word of Faith movement has spread across Africa, and similarly other WOF / NAR ("New Apostolic Reformation") off-shoots of Pentecostalism (like Bethel Church in Redding, CA) have spread throughout the the world.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Pentecostalism basically is like the historical Montanus movement.

These movements are not of God, because God does not contradict His previously given Word.   These people twist Scripture to fit a worldview in where Jesus is a means to a selfish end.   Yes, it basically is putting your own desire above what God wants.   God doesn't always want us to be wealthy, healthy, and live in our own desired reality.  In fact, He promised suffering for this life for His followers who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).

People in the Word of Faith movement are placing faith in faith and in their own words and visions - even when they don't line up with what God has already said in His canonical written Word - the Bible.

Syncretism is a serious problem in Africa.   People in Africa need the clear teaching of Scripture to learn that they need forgiveness for sin rather than mere sinful men to bless them and try to remove evil.
Pastor Conrad Mbewe explains more about what is going on in Africa:

Why Is The Charismatic Movement Thriving In Africa

Tony Miano discusses about Bethel Redding and the "New Apostolic Reformation" movement.  They are a little more subtle in that they are making people see them as mainstream.  They use a music group called "Jesus Culture" as a draw.

Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church

Nathan Busenitz gave a message and wrote an article which are helpful to evaluate whether prophecy is of the Lord or not:

A Word From The Lord - Evaluating the Modern Gift of Prophecy

 Strange Fire - Modern Prophecy

Justin Peters explains the Word of Faith movement, and shares its similarity to Christian Science.

Exposing The Word of Faith Movement

Here is another link leading to some more information on this subject:
Strange Fire

People who are caught up in these movements need the Gospel, and Christians who are getting confused and taken in by the deception need to be exposed to the truth about these groups.
Please share with them, because God can and has rescued people from these things.  Light exposes darkness, and the Scripture is authoritative.  Please pray for Africa, and for all the people who are currently being deceived - that God will expose them to the truth of what God's Word actually says, and that He will swiftly draw His sheep out from among them.  Also, pray for Biblical pastors who will faithfully teach Scripture.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why Do So Many People Feel The Need To Blog?

Why I blog

I can't tell you why other people write blogs.  I can't see inside their minds.  I can only tell you why I write.
The problem is that at different times, I've had different motivations and audiences in mind.
Originally, the blogging I did was probably mostly geared for sharing things with online friends and relatives.  I did not have a lot of views from others.
My first blog was dropped, because it was connected to a particular online ISP that we no longer have.

I read before that a person should focus their blog on a particular interest,  but I have no desire to run several blogs at once!
My posts have run from fun, to personal experiences and thoughts, to sharing videos and links that interest me, to evangelism (which has increased in recent years), to news stories, politics, discernment, and even doctrinal issues that are important to me.

I want God to use me, though it is a struggle not to feel discouraged when I don't get a lot of views for the effort.   Then I remind myself that if God uses the more worthwhile posts for just one person  - it can be worth something.
So, when the views get really high (for me) and then drastically drop, it's a good reminder to not let numbers be so important.
Honestly though, number drops can pressure me to post more often.  That is why I stopped letting others view my number stats.  It helps a little.

I can remember the servant in the Bible who was given lesser talents, and it encourages me.    I don't have to have a large audience.  I need to be faithful in small things.   For me, there is little other outlet for me to share.
1 Peter 4:10-11 talks about employing our gifts in serving one another.
While this can be done in a local group of believers, I think that the larger body of Christ can also benefit.

Blogging doesn't just have to be about showing off our writing composition skills.
In fact, I know that my writing is so simple that a computer once let me know that it was on a grade school level.  
I'll admit to even copying Tim Challies' idea about sharing others' links.  Since there are a lot of others out there who have more knowledge and skill than I do, why not?  

There is a lot of heresy out there to avoid, and there is a lot of other worthless trash.
If Christians are to let their light shine, why should we leave the internet to completely empty chatter, filth, and charlatans?
Paul went where the false gods were set up, and he told people about the One true God.
The internet is a major marketplace of ideas and religion of this day and age.

I'm not a preacher, of course.   I can't be one.

If you are one, I want to be an encouragement to those who are faithful in Biblical exegesis, exposition, and application - to stand up for truth and proclaim it far and wide.  Not only to proclaim it, but to live it!

If you can write, why not do it?  It's not about us.  It's about God and His Gospel and glory.

If God wants you to stand on street corners and preach, and your church will stand behind you...why not make sure you are equipped ...and do it?

If you are a female (which means you are not qualified to preach or be an elder),  why not think about what you can do within the Biblical parameters that are in Scripture, and then apply these things?   Also, think about what you are wearing in regards to causing people to sin - even your Christian brothers, and remember your behavior should be an example to others.  Women can influence future generations without disobeying God.

If you care about unborn babies, find a way to make a difference.

If you have a heart for unreached people groups, and you can't go, you can encourage others to pray and get involved.

Motivation

So, some will do things for the wrong motives...even preaching Christ.  Philippians 1:15-18

Some wrong motives for blogging (as well as preaching) are these:

Glory for self
Greed
Vindictiveness
Hate
To Deceive
To Please or Flatter People
(Some of the above were taken from 1 Thessalonians 2.)

Which of us doesn't struggle with wrong motives at times?
Can God still use imperfect vessels?
He has, and He still does.

It seems there are two extremes among those who name the name of Christ:

  1. People who want to give up on and write off genuine fellow Christians when they say or do the wrong thing occasionally.
  2. People who are unwilling to speak out when serious error is proclaimed, and attack those who dare to question or speak out.

People forget that restoration is the goal with genuine believers, and we should even care about and pray for the salvation of those who are enemies of the Gospel at present.  
Do we not want them to repent?
We don't always know which people are wheat and which are chaff.
Bloggers and others need to be careful to remember not to crush the wheat along with the chaff.

On the other hand, we shouldn't feed or ignore the weeds to the detriment of the wheat.

So, if you blog, why do you do it?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Islam & Historical Heresy

Islam And The Slaughter of Those Who Name The Name Of Christ


What happened in Paris was awful.  I wrote most of this post before the news came out about it.  Obviously, the attacks that were done in France show the combination of religious and political goals that are at work in Islam.  
We can see that it isn't just those who call themselves Christians who die at the hands of Islamic terrorists, though my original post is about that particular aspect.
Those in Israel also have had to live in danger for many years, and yet ironically much of Islam is borrowed from Judaism and Christianity.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Muslims in predominately Islamic countries don't seem to recognize the difference between Roman Catholicism and Christianity, and in some countries they imprison, kill, burn the churches of, and commit other heinous acts against anyone who names the name of Christ - Christian or not.

Christianity & Roman Catholicism aren't the same thing.  As Christians, we believe Roman Catholicism is an apostate church (and some would call it a cult).

Islam believes the words of "Allah" can't be corrupted (this is in their Quran) , & because the true Triune God's Words are true - Islam is false.   The Quran contradicts the Bible.

Islam borrows from Christianity, but sadly they have twisted, added to & rejected as infallible the truth of God's Word.  Islam also borrows from Judaism & legends.
Cultish religions often start with false prophets, and Islam started with a "prophet" who claimed to have words from "Allah."
The problem is that the Canon of Scripture was already closed at that time, and God doesn't contradict Himself.

Jesus recognized the Law and the Prophets as Scripture, and in the upper room He promised the Spirit which would bring to mind all that Jesus said to them (the apostles - John 14:26).
Basically, He authorized the apostles for the writing of Scripture. Apostles saw Jesus...even Paul saw Jesus later than the others.
Mohammed did not.

Mohammed was neither an apostle or commissioned by one, so Mohammed's words could not hold the weight of authority of words actually given by the Spirit.
Any system that has a wrong view of God, salvation, & the Scriptures is false.
Islam denies the Trinity, believe in a works based salvation, and they do not accept the Bible as it is written (and accept a book added to it).

Muslims need the true Gospel.  They are spiritually blinded.
Remember Paul zealously went against true Christians, but God miraculously saved him.
This should encourage Christians to hope and pray for Muslims who are zealous for a lie...that God will open eyes and save many.
This is a reminder to myself and not just to others!
When we have opportunity, we should be willing to give the Gospel to Muslims.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some Other Historical Heresy / False teaching has a way of repeating itself.

Here is a list of some of them:

Salvation by works: Judaizers →Ebionites:

Modern versions:
7th Day Adventists
Roman Catholicism
(A lot of other things are dangerously close to to a works based righteousness view.)

Gnosticism:

Modern versions:
New Age
Mormonism
Christian Science
Scientology

Montanists

Modern:
Pentecostals

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have been listening to a class online by Nathan Busenitz, and so I'm incorporating notes and other things I've learned into some posts (along with what I've learned from others).  This does not mean that what I write is endorsed by him in any way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Upcoming Radio Program & Amazing Testimony of IV Conerly

Some great news!

Pastor Don Green  of Truth Community Church (formerly of Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is pastor) is set to be on a new radio program "The Truth Pulpit," a daily 30-minute broadcast which is to start on Monday  November 16th at 9 pm Eastern on WFCJ-FM (a Christian radio station in the Dayton-Cincinnati, OH area).   http://wfcj.com/ 


An Amazing Story of God's Grace

Known by some for reformed Christian rap, IV Conerly has a testimony that you may not be fully aware of.  Don't miss it!

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Starbucks' Red Cup Controversy - A Look Inside The Cup

It's not what's on the outside of the cup that matters. It's what's on the inside.  The same is true with people. 

You may have nice traditions or you might not.  God sees your heart, and our hearts are naturally filthy.  The sin inside might seem good for a season, but it won't satisfy and will destroy you. Lying, lusting, stealing are all sins that keep us from Him.  Not believing, in itself, sends people to Hell. No amount of scrubbing and bleach can take sin's stain from our hearts....much worse than a coffee stain.....The only One Who can cleanse our evil hearts is God and what He did.  

God sent His perfect spotless Son Jesus- fully God and fully man - to die on a cross and suffer the consequences for the sins of everyone who would ever believe and put their trust in Him for forgiveness of sins. 
He rose in 3 days conquering death. 
Those who believe in Him will be fully washed from their sins and will have eternal life. 
If you believe, His righteousness will be imputed to you. On your own you will never be good or clean enough no matter what others see on the outside.
God knows what you are like on the inside.
----------------------------------------------------------

The above was my response to a Facebook challenge to transition to the Gospel (with minor edits).
I actually do avoid Starbucks usually, because of what the profits go to...not about them not celebrating Christmas.   We can't boycott everybody though, as so many people use their profits for immoral purposes these days sadly.

Here is an article by Nathan Busenitz that addresses the cup controversy from a clear perspective.

Starbucks, Christmas, and Christians

Sunday, November 8, 2015

When Healing Eludes Us

One day I was feeling poorly as I do many days, but I did go out for a ride with family.
 I stayed in the car with my Dad, and we listened to a radio station.
 They played a song or two I was familiar with, but the lyrics of one I hadn't heard before really stood out to me.

 I often feel like I'm going to pass out. Sometimes I think I'm not going to make it I feel so rotten, and I realize this may be what the rest of my life will be like. Fibromyalgia was bad enough, but things have gone downhill. I use a wheelchair most of the time now. Really, I don't want to describe all of the symptoms.

So as I listened to the song on the radio, it stirred me as I could relate so well to the lyrics. I hate to feel awful, and sometimes the stress overwhelms me.
I want to love God more, and I want to be like Job in his initial response to tragedy.
Life can be a spiritual battle against fear and rebellion and doubt.
These are sins I hate, and I know Christ is my only hope.
Whatever it takes for me to grow more like Christ, it is worth it...though I may desire for it not to have to be through more suffering.
God has His purposes, and I just need to yield to His will. There is no guarantee that I will ever be rid of these symptoms.

 I know some relatives and online friends that are going through struggles as well ... even cancer. Though some of you have heard this song before, I hope that it will be a reminder and encouragement to trust God and who He is...even if the healing doesn't come.
One day in Heaven believers will have healing though.
May we glorify God even in our suffering.

 

 The sharing of this song is not meant as an endorsement of the group.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. 
Selah.
Psalm 62:8 NASB