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Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Christmas Card For You

Though I'm struggling through each day,  I'm thankful for the Savior coming to earth to die for sins, and that He rose again.
There is much joy ahead, and for now we run the race.
He is our reason for hope, and we must fix our eyes on Him!
I hope you have a great celebration (for those who do celebrate).

If you missed the Grace Community Church Christmas concert, you can find it HERE.

A church in India sings a song from America about the Savior's birth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Dark Before The Dawn - Hope For The Suffering Christian

While the song at the bottom of this post was written about a certain event, the lyrics were meaningful to me.

Some valleys are so dark, that it is difficult to believe that we will ever get out.
We like to imagine that Christians will never go through these valleys.
We should be always filled with joy, right?

Yet Christians can still be tormented physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Jesus still loves us and cares, and in the garden of Gethsemane, He suffered too.
He suffered on the cross agony more than what we could ever bear.
Sometimes we feel that we are at the point where we cannot bear our suffering for even a moment longer, but yet there is little we can do but cry out to God as our Father to have mercy on us as His children.

The darkness may come to believers, but in those times we need to turn to the Lord...not away.
We can look to His promises.  We can bring verses to our minds by our memory or by reading them.

We should redirect our thoughts to what the Bible says to set our minds on (Philippians 4:6-8), and we should remind ourselves about who God is and about His loving care.

Sometimes you may feel that you can't do anything, but then you can still call out to God and wait for Him to answer.
There is hope.  We can trust Him for that.  He either brings relief, or He will bring us the strength to endure.
There is refuge in Him even in your darkness, and there will be a glorious dawn one day.
So, keep fighting the fight of faith, and remember that He knows, that He understands, and that He is right there with you - if you are His.
He is merciful and gracious, and He is patient.
We must be patient in our dark times, and we need to remind ourselves to rest in Him.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What Is Christmas About?

Jesus was born of a virgin (God let Mary and her intended husband Joseph know what was happening by way of an angel).

After they traveled to Bethlehem due to a census, Jesus was born and was placed in a manger (as there was no room available for them inside the inn).
Shepherds had angels appear and tell them about His birth, and they came and found Him.

Later on, when Joseph and Mary were with Jesus in a house, wise men (we don't know how many) from the east came to offer gifts (after first going to Herod).
Then Herod wanted Him dead, so he decided to have male kids under a certain age put to death.
Joseph was warned in a dream, and they left that area.

Jesus lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 4:21), taught the people, performed many miracles (Acts 2:22), was hated by many religious leaders, and He willingly suffered and died undeservedly on a Roman cross (betrayed by Judas and falsely accused by religious leaders).

He took the punishment of sins of all who would ever believe.
Jesus willingly took God's wrath on the cross for undeserving sinners (Colossians 2:13-14).
He was laid in a tomb, and in 3 days He rose from the grave in victory.
Death and sin were defeated.
He appeared to many who believed, and He ascended to Heaven before many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Those who repent of sin & turn to faith in Christ will be saved from slavery to sin (Romans 6:18; 1 Peter 2:24) and the deserved punishment of eternity in Hell.
They will be forgiven and declared righteous as if they had lived Christ's life....
their sins having been placed on Him.
They are adopted as children of God...born again from above.
They have the Spirit to indwell them.
They will have eternal life, and they will spend eternity with the Lord - happily serving Him.

Those who do not believe will be resurrected, but then they will face the justice of the wrath of God & an eternity in Hell.
They will be held accountable for sins.  They will not be forgiven.  There will be no second chance (Hebrews 9:27).

You can read a clear description of the GOSPEL here.

All who will believe have been chosen before the foundation of the world.
It's amazing!  We don't deserve it!
For those of us who are given faith in Jesus, Heaven will be beyond what we can imagine.
John had a peek.  You can find that in the book of Revelation.
The Bible is where we learn what God has to say to us.  He gave His words to men to write down.
I hope that you will read it!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

To Celebrate Christmas Or Not To Celebrate - For Some That Is The Question

Christmas is about to be observed in many parts of the world this month.
Lately, some of my friends seem to be pulling away from celebrating.
Yes, the Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas, but while the Puritans had a lot right...they aren't a substitute for the Bible.
Perhaps the word "Advent" lessens the offense to some.

Celebrating Christmas as a Christian is NOT a sin.
It isn't mandated to celebrate it in the Bible, but people choosing not to celebrate doesn't make them more spiritual than those who do.
It is good to avoid the false teaching and idolatry of Roman Catholicism, and it's good to not deceive your kids by replacing God with Santa.
It's also good not to be selfish, but then that is an issue of your heart.
For the record, I do celebrate the season and the day...and I'm not ashamed of it.

As I get older, I have more joy in remembering Christ's birth.
For us, gifts are usually given Christmas Eve, and on Christmas we eat a nice meal, hear about Christ's birth, and we sing or listen to carols.
My family usually has a Christmas project we choose before Christmas...meaning we give to missions, missionaries, etc.

I do understand some who have an issue with the name of the day, but then other words we use have origins in false religion as well (including the days of the week).
If it bothers a person's conscience to celebrate, then that person shouldn't.
Still, we need to have our consciences properly informed...that this is not an issue of right or wrong.

The following links may interest you:

Is Christmas Day Rooted in Paganism? - by Nathan Busenitz
Another good article by Nathan Busenitz is about the Controversy of The Incarnation

J.C. Ryle wrote a Christmas tract:
What Think Ye of Christ 

Charles Spurgeon did not see harm in remembering Christ's birth, while decrying the Catholic "mass" and popish origins.
Spurgeon on Christmas

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?  - from Grace To You

Another MacArthur Video on Celebrating Christmas

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Caroling - Missed Opportunities

Have you ever been Christmas caroling? 

I went out at least once with a church group when I was much younger, and we went especially to houses of people of the church.
I think at least one of the places we went to was where there was a shut-in.
We actually went into houses and visited  with people.

 In the old movies, Christmas caroling was quite common, but I haven't heard or seen much of that most of my life.
It seems to be a rare thing least in communities where I've lived.

Wouldn't it be great if Christians not only went out and sang Christian songs about Jesus' birth, but if they combined this with important things like ministering to shut-ins and giving the Gospel out to surrounding communities?
Are not many solid Biblical churches missing opportunities to shine the light of the Gospel at a time of year when people are celebrating something they don't even understand?
I realize some churches use concerts, but not everybody will make the effort to go to one or is able to go to one.

making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 
Ephesians 5:16 NASB

Ray Comfort shared an interesting video about combining singing and giving the Gospel.
"Amazing Grace" is a great song, and why not do something like he suggests?

Perhaps a group could choose to sing the song "It's About The Cross" as an alternate choice (or whatever song with good Gospel lyrics that you can think of).

If you try doing something like this, I'd love to hear about it!

I would pick different tracts, but I like the idea of people handing out tracts and singing in combination with evangelism...even alongside street preachers!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Who Is Jesus?

(For disclosure, I'm a female, and this is a personal blog.)

Jesus' birth was foretold and He was referred to as God.

There is so much in both the Old and New Testaments that makes it clear that Jesus is God the Son.  From His virgin birth, to His death on a cross, etc.,  it was all foretold in the Old Testament and made manifest in the New.

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.   Isaiah 7:14 NASB
(Immanuel means God with us or "With us is God.")

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 NASB

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."  Micah 5:2 NASB

Isaiah 53 prophesies His death ...that He bore the sin of many.

Son of God

God the Father sent His Son to take on flesh:

John 3:16-18 refers to Jesus as the only (unique) begotten Son of God.
Since Jesus is eternal, and He was involved in Creation, we know that this helps us to understand that He is a Son different than believers who are adopted children of God.
Cults try to twist this into making people think that He was created rather than being one of the Trinity involved in Creation.

In John 1:1-3, Jesus was called the Word, and the world was created through Him.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14 NASB

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,  Romans 8:3 NASB

He was referred to by John the baptist as the true light coming into the world:

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  John 1:9 NASB

Jesus Himself talked about having come down out of Heaven.

"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."  John 6:33 NASB   (In John 6:35 He says that He is the bread of life.)

Jesus' equality with the Father....He is not the Father as some twist things into a schizophrenic confused deception - not accepting that God doesn't have to meet our finite understanding.
This is about unity and equality of two of the Trinity.

Jesus announced that He and the Father are one in John 10:30.

God  referred to Himself to Moses as the I AM,.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”  John 8:58 NASB

So, the Jews wanted to kill Him when Jesus said this,, because He was making Himself equal with God.

The Bible also says:

For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  Colossians 2:9 NASB

In Philippians 2:6-7 it is said that He existed in the form of God, but He took the form of a bondservant "being made in the likeness of men."

Old Testament passages and New Testament passages connect things together:

Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!  Proverbs 30:4 NASB

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”  John 8:56 NASB

Confession of who Jesus is - is necessary:

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1 John 4:15 NASB

Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 NASB

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 
1 John 4:2 NAS

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Matthew 16:15-16 NASB

🔗 Who do you say that Jesus is?

Do you celebrate Christmas?   Find out more of why He came:
🔗 Understanding Why Jesus Came To Earth To Be Born

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tornadoes, Wildfires, & Christmas Music

Tennessee has been having a lot of fires (with some storms this week), and some other southern states (Alabama and Georgia) also were affected by recent storms this week.

A club was recorded singing at a Georgia high school while they were taking shelter (this video was published on November 30th).
They showed a clip of it on TV, and I wanted to share it with you!
Music is a blessing from God, and it's always good when the lyrics honor the God who gave us the ability to sing!
I don't know whether these people are actually Christians or not, but I would love it if they are!


Christians, please continue to pray for people in Tennessee. 
Many in the tourist town of Gatlinburg (which is right at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) have lost businesses and homes.
 At least 14 people have died related this fire which it seems was intentionally set by 2 juveniles.
So much has been donated for the people of Gatlinburg, that they don't have enough room for it all at this point!
They are still taking money though.
Like with the flooding in other parts of the U.S., we know that recovery takes a lot longer than a couple of days

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grace To You & The Hillsong Controversy

Truth does divide, but we can't ignore error ....
Grace To You has posted some blog articles related to Hillsong during the past couple of days.

Hillsong Music's Weakness 

Hillsong's UnBiblical Message  

The articles by GTY aren't just about music (although one of them is focused  more on the lyrics of the songs).
I am thankful that they have addressed this.

Hillsong's music is very popular in many churches due to the music being pleasing to the ears.
While not all of Hillsong's lyrics are wholly bad, you can see symptoms of poor teaching in many of them.

Hillsong churches are not known to be bastions of solid Biblical teaching.
Like many churches today, sound theology does not seem to be a priority.

Grace To You highlighted one of  Hillsong's churches in California - where the teaching and atmosphere encourage a low view of God.
Sadly, this kind of a low view of God and Scripture, eisegetical teaching, and rock concert mentality are not all that uncommon in America.  It's not just a Hillsong issue.

A lack of sound Biblical teaching, and lack of reverence for God generally leads to unBiblical practices in the church.

Here are a just three symptoms:

Casualness about the things of God

Allowing women to teach and or exercise authority in the church

Allowing people who practice sinful lifestyles to lead

This leads to a church full of people who are either unbelievers or are spiritually malnourished.

Christianity without distinct doctrine is a powerless thing. It may be beautiful to some minds, but it is childless and barren.  - J.C. Ryle

I was rereading a portion of Chapter 2 of Reviving New England (by Pastor Nate Pickowicz) recently, and I'm afraid that many pastors today practice one of more of his examples of wrong ways to handle Scripture.
Even some seemingly good churches can fall into some error by lopsided teaching.
I believe that J.C. Ryle also talked about how it can be wrong to put too much focus in preaching on one point of doctrine to the detriment of others.

Let us never forget that truth, distorted and exaggerated — can become the mother of the most dangerous heresies! - JC Ryle

Ryle also wrote warnings of error to churches (highlighted in the following post on Monergism's site):
15 Key Quotes from J.C. Ryle’s “Warnings to the Churches”

I'm glad that GTY is pointing out serious problems to warn the flock (other Christians), and to encourage right thinking.
This is what leaders in the church should do (although some churches may go overboard when that is most of what they do).
That is not the case with Grace Community Church though.
If people think that it is, then they probably have not really looked into what is taught there.

Christians do need to to pay attention to warnings.
We need to know the Scripture better than we do.
We need to take God more seriously than we do.
It is so easy to get sucked into error and heresy when we don't filter what we believe through the lens of Scripture.

UPDATE: Additional GTY Article on Hillsong
Hillsong & Man  - Here is a partial quote in their response to what Hillsong teaches:
"..., even the greatest victim still needs to appreciate the depth of his own guilt in order to grasp his need for the Savior."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

GCC Christmas Live-Streaming Concert, Christmas Explained By MacArthur, Plus A Capella Christmas Music

Exciting News!

The Grace Community Church Christmas Concerts are coming up, and the one on December 18th, 2016 is planned to be live-streamed at 6-8 PM Pacific Time.  That is 9-11 PM Eastern.

UPDATE:  Here is the concert video!

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert 2016 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

John MacArthur Explains Christmas.

It's time for music!

The following video has no connection to Grace Community Church,  but there is a Christmas Card Tract that is from the lyrics of this song.
One thing I would say further than what this song for those who are born again (from above) begins now for the believer.
Yet we still groan in our earthly tents (bodies) as we wait for our redeemed bodies (Romans 8:22).
Christmas is a great time for evangelism.

Sharing this does not mean that I endorse the singers, songwriters, etc., of the song or video.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Deadly Poisonous Speech & New Birth Baptism

Sins of The Tongue  ←This has good food for thought on the sins of the tongue. I believe many of us  fail even without intent. 

I would disagree with this man on some points in the article (like who reigns in Hell...and I believe qualifying praise is actually a good thing when it is to avoid endorsing error).  

I also believe that sometimes things are misconstrued as slander when error and concerns are being pointed out.  There is a fine line, and it is good to be very cautious.  Many times the line can get crossed, but the other side of this is flattery and encouraging people to read or listen to error by pretending error doesn't exist.

I would be interested to read a booklet by John Flavel on this subject  called Sinful Speech.

New Birth Baptism

I have been reading the book of John, and I have been thinking about the idea of being born again.
It isn't the first birth that puts one into the the true's the second birth. 
All Christians are born of the Spirit and are in Christ.

Many people seem to believe that the old covenant is exactly as the new, so they think that unbelieving children of Christians should be included.  
Certainly unbelievers can enjoy the blessings spilled over from a believer, but only believers are included in the universal true church.
Children should be raised up in the way they should go, but they shouldn't be considered as members without a profession of faith (and even then only God knows if they are truly saved at that time).

John's baptism was of repentance.
Even circumcised Jews were baptized by John (and the disciples of Jesus baptized also), so these do not seem to be unrepentant and unbelieving people who were to be baptized.

After Christ died and rose, Christians were also baptized by the Spirit and into Christ.  
They were not required to be circumcised of the flesh...nor were their children.
In the early church in the Bible, water baptism became symbolic of  being baptized into Christ's death and raised with Him.  
Do I hear "imputation" anyone?  

Water baptism followed repentance and faith.
Churches shouldn't wait to baptize a child who professes faith.
They should only question them to ascertain that they understand.
Even adults can be false converts, but baptism shouldn't be kept until we decide people have enough fruit to satisfy us first, should it?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Surgery Side Two

This week I had another ulnar nerve moved (on my other arm).  This time it was a simpler surgery to release it..  I do not feel like the first surgery was as successful in helping anything except the nerve conduction test to come out better.  It made things feel worse for using that hand, so I wanted a different surgeon this time to do the other side.

Well, I have been majorly stressed out, and it is hard to see how I will get through, but at least the surgery seemed to have gone well.  I was awake at least part of the time, but they tented me to not have to view the surgery.  I did see a person holding what they were tenting me with.  I thought of asking the people how it was going, but I kept quiet.  It only hurt at the end with the nerve, and it felt like one side of my brain felt a corresponding  nerve pain / freeze for a bit.

I have been having meltdowns, and the pain has gradually increased from very little to the level of what I think a scrape up from a bike fall was like as a kid.  Ouch!  The side effects of the prescription were too bothersome, so I'm using over the counter medicine now.

I've been typing this all one handed, so I will keep it brief.
I'd appreciate prayer not only for me, but others in my family are facing surgery and pain issues as well.  I feel like I'm having a breakdown, and God is the only One who can get me through.

I'm thankful for family and others who have encouraged me.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Things Satan Doesn't Want You To Know

The sad truth about some who call themselves Christians -

Some who call themselves Christians need to start reading the Bible more, and they need to stop listening to the lies of those who tell them that certain sins are okay.
Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-20  and Ephesians 5:3-14 are just a few Scripture portions that talk about some sins that should not characterize believers.

It's Satan who wants to blind the eyes and stop up the ears, and he and his followers let people think that repentance isn't necessary and that God is okay with certain sins.

What is really disturbing is when people who call themselves "Christians" attack those who share the Gospel and Scripture online (or in person) with others.

Some who profess faith in Christ actually don't want people to read or hear the truth of Scripture...that God is not okay with sin...that sin brings eternal punishment in Hell...that Christ came to die on the cross to take the place of that those who repent and trust in Him can be saved.

This leads me to wonder if these people are truly saved themselves, though only God knows for sure.
It's hard for me to imagine true Christians telling other people not to read the Gospel or Bible verses.

Some people think that it is unloving and judgmental to warn someone of the eternal consequences of sin..and to proclaim the good news about repentance and faith in Jesus.
Repentance is a major theme in the Bible, as well at faith.
It is not something to be abhorred and shied away from!
Yet, some think that we should avoid mention of's all about "accepting" Christ rather than remembering that He is to be received as Lord.

Some people actually ridicule and judge those who are warning of God's just judgment...not our own.
They are deceived into thinking that God's being loving means that He accepts sinful behavior, and that He actually affirms people who practice sin!
They don't seem to realize that they are the ones who are not being loving to their friends and others, because true love warns of danger.

Love understands the truth and cares about consequences.
Love wants people to forsake have an understanding of what sin it, so that true repentance can take place if the Spirit is working in the heart of that person to believe the Gospel.
Love wants people to know what they need to be saved from...not to just give a person a warm fuzzy bandage to pretend that sin is not sinful.

Even if someone claims to be a Christian and is living a life of sin,  they must be warned about the consequences of continuing in sin (Ephesians 5:3-13).
If the person is not a Christian, they need to understand the true Gospel, and they need to see that the Gospel transforms lives.  
If a person is continuing in unconfessed sin, and if they think that the sin is perfectly acceptable and natural and commendable, then they should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.

For believers, we should know that we need to continue confessing and turning from sin.
We desire not to sin.
This doesn't mean that we don't have struggles with sin, but it does mean that we will not rejoice in unrighteousness.  
As we grow, we come to hate sin more, and we want to obey God more.
A true child of God will be convicted when sin is pointed out.
We have been washed /cleansed in the redeeming sense,  but we want to have a deeper and purer communion with Christ by not leaving our sin a dirt smudge on a clean shirt.
  How do you know that you are really a Christian? from The Master's Seminary on Vimeo.

God's love is not about accepting sinful behavior.  God still hates sin, and there is only one way to be reconciled to God.  Once reconciled, there will be a God-ward  growth.  It may be gradual, but people will not grow very well if they don't spend time getting to know God better through His Word.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The U.S. Election & Christian Reconciliation

Another U.S. Presidential election has been decided.
Neither of the major candidates were my choice, but God is Sovereign.
I voted my conscience...for a write-in that I believe would have been superb...Nathan Busenitz..a professor at The Master's Seminary.
I knew that Donald Trump was highly likely to win the state of Tennessee anyway, so my friends who were anxious about my not voting for him should not have worried.

If Hillary had won, God would still be Sovereign, as much as it would have been bad news for our country.
Many of us may consider Donald Trump the lesser of two judgments, but that doesn't mean that all will be a bed of roses.
Many of my friends voted for Trump - trusting that he actually will stand for unborn babies in the womb.
All Christians should pray that he truly will stand for life, because he has shown himself to be a man of shifting views.

I have been reading 2 Kings, and I have seen how Israel and Judah had many kings who were disobedient to God and allowed false worship - even passing their children through the fire.
Every so often, there was a king who did right.
Some of those still allowed some evil to continue 
Because of the sin, judgment was still coming.
Yet, God showed much patience for His own sake - and for the sake of David.

America is not Israel or Judah.  It is not God's chosen people, but there are still those of us in it who are His adopted children.
Many of us prayed for mercy, and we voted based on our conscience.
Yes, I voted for a state and U.S. well as writing in for President.

Now,  despite the outcome, we can't stop praying, and I hope that Christians who attacked one another will once again show the love that is supposed to mark the children of God.
I never pronounced judgment on those who voted for Trump, but I did stand up against people who seemed to want to judge me for not voting for him.
I have no reason to be counted guilty.

Elections sometimes bring out the worst in people, but my desire is that believers will be reconciled as true Christians should be.
We are to be lights in the world, and I fear that we have not acted very Christ-like.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10 ESV

Monday, November 7, 2016

Help For The Depressed Believer

If you are down, I hope this well help you.
I am not doing this for you only.   I'm doing it for myself.
Yes, I have learned what it is to be so low that I don't know how I'll get through.
My hope is still in God though, and I must endure no matter how dark things seem or how awful I may feel.
Medicine and those who care can be helpful, but it can't take the place of remembering the greatest Source of my help.

Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!  Psalm 27:9 NASB

My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  Psalm 63:8 NASB

Things the Bible encourages us to meditate on:

The Law of the Lord • His precepts   (Psalm 119:15)

Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.  Psalm 119:11 NASB

Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any excellence and anything worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)

His works & mighty deeds

His lovingkindness

God Himself  (Psalm 63:6) - Thinking on His attributes is a good plan.

This is not an exhaustive list.
Please comment with any other Biblical things that we can dwell on as believers.

Remember you are not alone.
David wrote many Psalms reminding himself and us to hope in God.
Those are inspired words.

Many well-known Christians have suffered low points or depression.
God is a God of all comfort and compassion.
He won't cast His children out.

We can't just wallow thinking about ourselves all of the time.
We need to redirect our thinking over and over!
Don't give up!
Sometimes little things can bring small joys, and God can still use us.

Heaven will be brighter, but God has a purpose for us down here too.

Friday, November 4, 2016

God Is On The Throne - Election 2016

While I've had disagreement in recent time with the Chapmans (the daughter "preaching" somewhere), the lyrics in this particular song are spot on.
I hope that they will encourage my Christian friends in regards to the upcoming election.

The church has continued under great persecution in times past.
We need to stop looking for a utopia government here on this earth, because Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world.

We want peace and freedom, but we should not throw away everything that marks us as Christians in order to gain it .
We are completely dependent on Christ.
Evil in this world cannot negate the power of God.  He uses the bad that men do to bring about His purposes.
He brings judgment, He demonstrates His glory, His mercy & love to those whom He has chosen.
And sometimes, surprises come to us for good ....which are not surprises to God.
God is always good, and He will not abandon His children.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reviving New England Book Review • Part 3 • Conclusion

I've finally finished the book Reviving New England by Pastor Nate Pickowicz.

It is an excellent book well worth reading.
My disclaimer is that at least a couple of the people quoted I personally wouldn't recommend (though the quotes themselves are okay).
I'm not really familiar with some of the others quoted, but some of them I do consider solid.

So, I recommend the book as a whole, and I believe it would be a great book to give to those interested in ministry, seminary students, pastors, church leaders, evangelists, and all Christians in general (who can read English).

It is good to be reminded of what faithful Christians and churches
should be doing, and it is also good to be reminded not to neglect praying for workers and the mission field even in America (as well as for revival in the churches).
It is convicting and motivational, as well as it gives Biblical instruction.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

God's Holiness

I was searching for things online about God's holiness, and a song from my younger days popped into my mind.
It is based on Revelation 15:3-4.
It is difficult to find other videos with the exact tune, so this will give you the idea.

While I was searching for the right tune, I came across another unusual video based on the same verses as the previous song....but with an entirely different tune.

In closing, I want to share an excellent article on God's holiness from the GTY website:

God's Holiness & Your Worship

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Christian" Idolatry

We are seeing more and more people who are professed Christians who have been so influenced by the world that they ignore Scripture under the guise of "love."

Sadly, many well-known individuals have no solid grounding in the Scripture or sound Theology - which leaves them open to being tossed here and there by every wind and wave of "doctrine" as well as feel-good lies.

Even those who might seem to start well have let what others think - or their own desires -  guide their beliefs (rather than the Scripture).
What is worse is that these individuals have many followers that they are leading away from the truth.
They have the appearance of being reasonable and spiritual to those who have not been immersed in Scripture, but they actually are devoid of Biblical truth.
It's even more frightening when they speak a lot of truth at first, but error - like poisonous gangrene  -begins to fester.

Recently, I've seen people posting about Nichole Nordeman & Jen Hatmaker.
If someone tells you that LBGTQ  is acceptable to God, then they have rejected what the Scripture says as their authority.
Romans 1:21-32 & 1 Corinthian 1:6-11 make it clear that these kinds of behavior are not what should be practiced by Christians.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  
Ephesians 5:6 NASB

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;  
Ephesians 5:11

In a culture where people seek after fame (which is often a form of self-idolatry) and where people are desirous to have heroes to look up to (which can turn into idolatry when people blindly follow others), we need to be more like the noble-minded Bereans who examine the Scriptures to see if those we are following are actually leading us toward Christ or away from Christ and Scripture.

Even the apostle Paul's goal was not to seek glory from men.  We, as Christians, must seek to be holy...not like the Pharisees... but seeking after genuine holiness.

For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—
nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 NASB

Galatians 1:6-10 serves as a warning to us as Christians to make sure that those we are listening to don't corrupt the Gospel.  Timothy was even warned to avoid opposing arguments which are falsely called "knowledge" ( 1 Timothy 6:20-21).

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  Colossians 2:8 NASB

I want to obey Christ and follow His Word.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reformation & Revival

Reformation- TMS Chapel: October 25th, 2016. Speaker: Dr. Nathan Busenitz 
The link above is to a video which was live-streamed from The Master's Seminary.
I watched the last portion live and the first portion dead?  No, not really.
I watched most of the first half with the music and introduction in video form.
I highly recommend watching this....especially for those of you who haven't heard him before!
It has an important admonition at the end.

Men who rocked the world - Steven Lawson 
A long time after what was known as the Reformation, the churches were growing cold and were in need of spiritual revival.
Not long ago, Steve Lawson did a series where he talked about George Whitefield & Jonathan Edwards.
They were in the time of Great Awakening.
I've only barely started in the series myself, but I have great expectations!

Reviving New England by Nathan Pickowicz is now available on Kindle.
I didn't want to leave this newer book out of my post about Reformation and Revival, and those of you who like screen reading can now be happy!
I've read 4 chapters so far in my paperback version, and it's worth your time!
It deals not only with historical facts and a great desire to see revival in New England (which has again grown cold), but it goes through what a Biblical church should look like.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Reviving New England • Book Review • Part 2

God can use a few good men to set the world on fire for Him!

First of all, people need the right Gospel, and the church both individually and corporately needs to be purified.

I have been continuing to read Reviving New England  a little bit both yesterday and today, although dizziness issues have been plaguing me.
Chapter 3 has a clear presentation of the Gospel.
I didn't notice the virgin birth being mentioned, but other great truths of the Gospel were clearly emphasized.

Fighting sin, pursuing holiness,  true repentance, and sanctification were delved into quite a bit.
I really found the chapter helpful for me personally as a reinforced encouragement in my battle against sin.

 I even underlined a little bit in pencil.

One thing I underlined was this:
"Our warfare is that of aggression against the impulses of our hearts that rebel against God and hijack our efforts to live for Him ...."  - Nate Pickowicz
There were a couple of aspects that I would have liked to have had clarified personally:

1. I believe that while in general confession to God of individual sins is good, there can be a problem of rehashing individual thoughts.
In such cases, I believe that a more generalized confession may be a better option.

2. I would like clarification on the corporate confession of social injustice quote.   In this day and age, many people make general accusations of social injustice.  This is not always a fair accusation, and I believe it would be good to define what is truly social injustice.
I do see in my reading of Scripture that our light should expose darkness (so pointing out that things are sins against God as John the Baptist did I can see), but I also believe that our primary goal should be evangelistic with those outside the church.
I'm wondering what exactly we need to confess about those outside the church except maybe our own apathy and lack of evangelism?

Within the church I see this:
If someone is letting rich people (or it could be people of certain shade of skin) have preference in the church, then yes, that would be not only a social would be disobedience to God.
Giving care to one group of individuals over another would be personal favoritism, which I find as clearly against Scripture.
On the other hand, I see some people (even Christians) undermining the whole justice system to fit their own sense of justice.
It can bring people to disrespect and endanger authority that God has placed over us.
Even Nero was to be submitted to in what didn't clearly direct disobedience to Christ.
I hope this won't be considered as an attack....just the sharing of my own thoughts and questions about what I've read.

That being said, Chapter 3 was still excellent.
 At this point, I am thinking a study guide might be helpful for people like me.
I would like to see all of the key words with their definitions that I could review easily, and I would like to see all the practical application in study guide form to fill out and review.

Is anybody else with me?

I've started reading Chapter 4 already, so there may possibly be more to come!

Thanks again Pastor Nate for sharing this book.

People can get the book on Amazon or by going HERE.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Reviving New England - Book Review • Part 1

A Pastor friend of mine by the name of Nate Pickowicz (who previously wrote THIS Article for me)  has recently had a book published, and naturally I was interested to see what he had to say.
He was kind enough to include me to receive a copy of the new book.
Although it was never said to be required of me, I had it in my mind to do a book review.
I saw some glowing praise for the book before it arrived, so my excitement mounted.

The following were some of the early comments I saw:

So, I've now begun to read the book for myself.
I'm not nearly as fast of a reader as my online friends, but I've read two chapters so far along with Steve Lawson's excellent forward and the introduction.

Here are my first thoughts and summaries of what I've read:

Much of the first chapter is a historical account which talks about revival, the need for revival, the Great Awakenings, and the spiritual slide that has happened in the northeastern area of America,
Clearly, Pastor Nate Pickowicz has a heart and passion for his native New England.

He not only traces the history of Christianity in New England and its influence on the nation and the world, he makes it clear that he longs to see this happen again.
He is laying out a strategy in this book based on the Bible and history.
Certainly, the book's emphasis is especially on the preaching from the pulpit..which is great!

The major spiritual decline is lamented, and the percentage of actual Christian believers left is extremely low.
This is sad but not surprising to me, as I see the northeastern U.S. as very liberal - which manifests itself politically, as well as morally (though they are not alone), and spiritually.
I digress.

Anyway, near the end of the chapter, it begins to be more encouraging with more optimistic hope instilled.
I found myself leaping in my mind beyond even the necessity for Biblical preaching from the pulpits, but it also reminded me of the need for evangelism there in New England (as I'm aware that some are involved in that by things like street preaching and tract distribution - and one on one conversations - on college campuses and at abortion clinics).

On to Chapter 2.
After tracing the history of revivals from the Bible onward, Pastor Nate begins to describe what preaching should and shouldn't be like.
As I read the descriptions of what preaching should not be like, I knew that I had heard some of these methods.
I wish that many pastors would read and pay attention to what he's saying on this.
If you want to know fully what I'm talking about, you'll just have to read it for yourself.

I've definitely heard the "Springboard" preaching method where a pastor takes a text, and then they spend half or more of their sermon completely off topic or putting their own theme into the text (which might be mixing in the hobby horse method or just plain inserting some other topic into the mix).
This 2nd chapter in Reviving New England reminds me of how I felt when reading the book Pulpit Crimes by James White, and my mind assents a big Amen to what Nate is saying.
Self-centered pastors think the church revolves around them, but Bible-centered pastors believe that all of life revolves around God. -  Nate Pickowicz
Again,  as to his describing what preaching should be like....Amen!
And again, you'll have to read the book to know what he says it should be like!

Pastor Nate includes a lot of quotes from other sources, so this is a helpful compilation all in one place (although I can't vouch for every source...though some I do know are good).
I've enjoyed a bit of the review of history and how it all is fitting together.

It's not only New England that needs revival.  It's needed all over.   Revival comes through the Spirit convicting and working in the hearts of individuals, and while faithful pastors - as in the faithful prophets of old - are not able to manufacture change in the hearts of individual people, God definitely uses the faithful and passionate preaching and reading of the Word for His purposes and glory.

I would love to have a pastor like Nate Pickowicz down here where I live, so that our family wouldn't have to "settle" for some compromise in doctrine & practice - or to be stuck at home with live-streaming trying to figure out what to do next (though my physical issues can make me feel not up to going places at times anyway).
Christians, please pray for a church plant to be started where I live where we could actually even become members.
We love the plus of excellent live-streaming (and I would hope to continue), but we want a church home.
I'm thankful for some fellowship at times where we've been, and that not all of the teaching has been unbiblical.

Also, please pray for New England, and for the Word of God to be preached faithfully and accurately by men who love and live out the truth of Scripture!

You can find Reviving New England on Amazon directly or by going through the Entreating Favor webpage HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Is Gun Ownership Right For You?

Is it right to own a gun? 

If it is legal to own a gun, then we should be very careful about telling people whether they should own a gun or not.
Unless someone tells me that their purpose is to aggressively go out and kill someone, I have no business to tell someone not to legally buy a gun.
Yes, there is a key word there ....legally.
Sometimes people are able to buy a gun, but they are not legally qualified by law to own one.

Now, I can tell people that murder is wrong, but the Bible makes it clear that defending innocent life was accepted in Biblical times.
If the law allows you (even as an individual home or business owner) to defend innocent life, then it is up to your own conscience and ability about gun ownership.
Some people use guns to do target practice or to hunt for food to eat, and it's all within the law.

Clearly, I can see that the government is there to attempt to bring about justice and defense to the broader community.
Individuals are not called upon to run around looking for trouble to play cop or soldier.
That's obviously a government thing, and I can see in Romans 13 that it is actually a God-ordained role for government.
So, I have to obey the people that God has placed over us as long as they aren't commanding us to disobey God.
The government bears the sword for a reason, and that is pretty clear.
Now, if the government tells someone to aggressively, intentionally, & knowingly slaughter the innocent...that would be wrong.
I couldn't do that as a Christian.

So, basically, if the law allows people to self defense, and you are using a gun for purposes within that law - then it is God's to judge your attitudes and motives and not mine.

A person is just as guilty before God for hate and unrighteous anger with or without a gun.
Owning a gun legally isn't what God judges. He sees our hearts and knows our minds.
Yeah, I think we all are guilty of sinful anger and hate at times.
I could say that if you are full of hate, that there could be greater danger in owning or carrying a gun.

It's a matter of your own conscience, and we should listen to that.

What is most important though is our relationship with God....whether one is a Christian or a non-Christian.
The problem with all of the evil that is being done with guns in this nation isn't about the guns.
The problem is the sinfulness of mankind.
The conscience must be properly informed by what God says, and this applies in all areas.

I would request that you watch the video below, because it's message is of utmost importance to all of us.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Amazing Miracles - Real Prophets

Note to readers:  Since I'm a female writer, I want to disclose that before you read this.
I in no way want to be taking a role I shouldn't, and these are just my thoughts from reading in the Bible.

I'm reading 2 Kings again, and I find it quite amazing that things jump out at me that I had forgotten about.   We think about Moses being used in the parting of waters, but how many of us think about Elijah or Elisha also having waters parted for them?

I know that Jesus raised the dead, but Elijah (in 1 Kings), and Elisha (in 2 Kings) also had the dead raised by the power of God.  They prayed, and God answered.  Isn't that an amazing thought?
God worked special miracles through them.

Sometimes I forget to think about some of the similarities between what the Lord Jesus did on earth (and His apostles), and what the prophets of old were given to do.
Actually, I guess it just shows that the same God did similar miracles at different times in history.  
I know Elijah and Elisha were prophets only (thought that was a special calling), and Jesus was God the Son (which is beyond any other prophet).

Still, there were many miracles done through Elisha and others.
There was the birth of a baby to a barren woman, the resurrection of that young man later, the provision of oil to keep a lady from having her 2 sons go into slavery, the miracle of poisonous stew being rendered safe, and there was even a miracle of seemingly not enough food be multiplied with doesn't that sound familiar?
That is in 2 Kings chapter 4 where I read today!

There are so many types and shadows in the Old Testament of what was to come, it's amazing, isn't it?  
There is so much demonstration of God's justice, mercy, and compassion in the Bible.

Sometimes I focus so much on God's justice (and His justice is good), that I start to lose sight of His compassion and mercy (which I'm desperately in need of).

I hope that my thoughts on what I've been reading are of some benefit to someone, but please remember that I'm just a blogger!
Maybe this will even encourage someone to read what I'm reading!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spurgeon, Suffering, Solace & Soothing

"Every Man Is Born A Pharisee" ←This section of a sermon by Charles Spurgeon highlights how salvation is not by works.
 It's worth reading!      

"He takes the crown from off the head of man in all respects, and gives all glory to the grace of God." - Charles Spurgeon

Christian, Are You Suffering? - Yeah, that's me too.
This message is an encouragement for Christians who are suffering.
It's called Benefits From Suffering by Rick McLean
Links: Benefits From Suffering or Suffering - MP3 

The Role of Women in the Church   - Sometimes it seems like it is rare for people to take 1 Timothy 2 & 1 Corinthians 14 seriously when it comes to women in the church, and I lamented that fact recently on my blog.
It can be pretty discouraging what with that and other compromises in churches.
The article on No Compromise (NoCo) Radio's site linked above is an encouragement that while not all agree 100%, there are those who do desire to stand strong on Scripture on this point at least.
Little by little people seem to find ways to worm around the Scripture.

Soothing Music- Simple music with an encouraging message.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bible Study Helps & My Song Choice of The Day

Bible Study Resource Links: Nathan Busenitz is a seminary teacher, and I highly recommend his lectures on Historical Theology Parts 1 &; 2. ....good not just for pastors. 
Well, HERE is his list of recommendations for online Bible study that you may want to check out!

The Best Bible Translation - So many people are using paraphrase "Bibles" which can be deceptive, but thankfully there are still some reliable and pretty accurate translations of the Bible out there.
I prefer NASB myself, but I do have an audio version of the ESV as well.
The GTY website has this to say....
Which Bible Translation is Best?

A Song For Your Day:

I shared this song once before, but this version is a new track coming out on a new Sovereign Grace Music album  scheduled to be released on October 21, 2016.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Help For Those Affected By Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew has greatly affected many people.  
I am concerned that people caught up in discussions about the Presidential debate and other things may quickly be distracted away from people who are still in desperate straits. 

In Haiti, hundreds of people are dead, and a lot of people have lost their homes and are in need of basic things and shelter.   

Many people in the U.S. had power outages which might sound minor, but there has been quite a bit of flooding and wind damage in some areas which is a lot harder to deal with than people might think.
Thankfully the death toll in the U.S. was very low. 
Help is needed in both locations, and times like these can bring greater opportunities for Christians to give the Gospel out as well as to provide physical aid as they are able.
We ought to have some love for our neighbors close by and around the world.
Some people are already active in trying to help, but I'm sure more is needed.

Here are a couple of places that are helping:

Children's Hunger Fund has people who volunteer from GCC.

Hurricane Matthew Giving through World Orphans
 ( You can check out World Orphans' Website)
I heard about World Orphans through a church that I listen to sometimes.

Christians,  I would ask you to pray for the people even if you can't do anything else to help.
Some of us are on very limited funds, but we still care about those in need.
God is Sovereign over all.
I pray not only for physical help, but that the Biblical Gospel will be heard, and that God will open spiritual eyes and ears and hearts.  
I have one friend online who has reported Gospel opportunities in Florida.
People can pray for his family as they seek to help others as well.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Are we the only ones?

First of all, I'll state that we believe in the doctrines of grace. 
That is rare in these parts, but even where some may privately agree on that there can be other issues that make me feel we are aliens.

Are we the only ones left who believe women shouldn't preach?

Okay...maybe we are not completely alone on that one, but it is becoming an increasing rarity.

Are we the only ones left who don't believe women should teach men in Sunday School classes?

The list of those who agree is narrowing.

Are we the only ones left who feel women shouldn't lead the congregation in prayer?

Now I'm even more of a rarity. I just saw a lady writing for 9 Marks whose church thinks it's okay, and I've been to churches that allowed it (which I disagreed with). 
The lady posting on 9 Marks' site was writing under the guise of supporting complementarianism of all things!
This really disappointed me to see 9 Marks posting this. 
Their next article that I saw by a woman seemed to be rather instructive to pastors which only exacerbated me in my disappointment.

Are we the only ones who don't believe women should read the Scripture for the church service?

Okay, I know some probably agree on that one, but the number is becoming increasingly small.

Are we the only ones who don't believe a woman should be the main worship leader to lead the congregation?

So many churches want to push the envelope to see how far they can go in putting women in places of authority in the church.

Does anybody care about 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 or 1 Timothy 2:11-15 anymore? 

This is just one of the issues that I have been dealing with lately that has left me discouraged, but I remind myself that others have gone before us who have stood seemingly alone on many Biblically based issues. 
Each generation of believers must hold fast to the Word of God and sound doctrine based on the truth therein.
We may seem like a dying breed, but the truth never can die out. 
While there are many true Christians who give a little here and there, we shouldn't have to go that route. 
I don't want to have to compromise on any truth, yet I want to obey God and assemble with believers. 
It seems we would have to compromise on some doctrine to do this.
This is our dilemma....

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Have You Seen JMac Rap?

I was looking to find a music video by a person who sang at Grace Community Church this past Sunday, and  in the process I came across a hilarious video that is a few years old.
It was done by people from The Master's College which is now The Master's University.

I decided not to resist sharing this crazy "rap", even though I am wondering how my friends will react!
I hope you have a sense of humor!
(John MacArthur makes an appearance near the end of the video.)


This is completely meant to be funny.
So, these are my disclaimers:
Christians should want to be like Christ foremost, of course, and not idolize anyone.
So, we should only follow examples in the way they follow Christ.
People generally don't faint when they see John MacArthur either.
I sure didn't when I used to see him around, though with my physical issues these days I do feel faint at times.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Why Trials? • Foreign Language Gospel Resource

Why do Christians have trials?
I found this video when searching for something to encourage someone else, and it is helpful for me and any other Christian going through difficult times!

Foreign Language Gospel Resource:
I have shared other Gospel links in the past, but not long ago I came across another source right on a church website!  
I should have seen it before, right?
It's very exciting to me to have more and more choices available.
Our freedom to openly share may not last forever, so we need to make the most of our opportunities....redeeming the time!
LinkGospel Presentations in multiple languages 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Protest Or Proclamation?

Recently the media has been playing on people's prejudices and feelings, and people are all too willing to be led.
It is like a cancer attacking all parts of a body.  It stirs up emotions and bitterness that hardens people.
People are quick to rush to judgment in situations where not all of the facts are known.
People let their feelings rule them.

Disrespect of authority is spreading like a wildfire, and it's destroying relationships.
Feelings can't be trusted, and many perceived injustices are really not injustices.
Even when there is a real injustice (which happens in this world), we need to fight bitterness and sinful anger.
As a Christian, the Bible tells me to love my enemies....even to pray for them.
We can't always right every wrong, and we need to be careful not to sin in return...even if we think our anger may be righteous.

Romans 13 tells Christians to submit to governing authorities.  There are right ways to appeal when we think something is wrong and wrong ways to react.  There are legal ways and illegal ways.
Sadly in this day and age people often are wrong about what is actually an injustice.
Morality has been turned on its head when God's Word is rejected as our authority.
Demanding our rights is not the foremost purpose of Christians, and we have more joy and blessings in the next life that will make whatever wrongs we face in this life seem small.

Injustices do occur in this world, but what should the goal of Christians be?

"The object of life is no longer to fix past injustices. The object of life now is to proclaim Christ to whomever..." 
John MacArthur

 "When the Gospel changes your life, you go from social issues to spiritual issues."
John MacArthur speaking about Christians on the subject of racism and the Gospel.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Truth For Your Children

I was looking at some notes I typed out while listening to John MacArthur live-streaming from Grace Community Church awhile back, and it struck me that there was a clear message of the Gospel in his message on what to teach your children.
Some countries will tell people they are not allowed to give this message to children, but that is wrong.
They have the whole series on GTY now, so you can find the first message of that by going HERE.

I'm just going to share a portion of my slightly edited notes, because this message is something that everybody needs!

  1.  Teach your children God is Holy & His law demands perfect holiness.  He hates sin & always punishes sin.
  2. Sinners we are, & we cannot stand before God on our own.  Sin makes peace with God impossible & destroys peace with others.  All of us are worthy of death.
  3. Sinners can do nothing to change this.  We can't change our nature.  We are helpless and headed for eternal judgment in Hell.
  4. There is a remedy - Jesus- eternally God, became a man -- sinless.  He died - the only acceptable sacrifice.  He conquered death for us, and took the wrath of God. 
  5. Tell your children to repent and turn to Christ and trust in Him as Savior & Lord and follow Him in obedience.
I am thankful that we are able to supplement a local church service by usually listening to Grace Community Church live-streaming each Sunday.
If you are able to listen as well, you can watch it by going HERE.  
The times listed are U.S. Pacific time.
If you are in another time zone, you can convert the time here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gentle Correction

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:25 NASB

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Galatians 6:1 NASB

Sometimes people need correction...non-believers and Christians as well (in different ways).
The goal of correction should be reconciliation to Christ, and the method should be loving while standing firmly on the truth of God's Word.
Inside the Church, God has prescribed a method of church discipline.

When the issue that is being addressed is a lack of wisdom in a professed believer, we must be very careful not to be crushing in our attempts to address the person.
Sometimes, there may not be a black and white Biblical issue, even though Biblical principles may apply.  
In such cases, the person may have to learn by life experience and Bible study.
Other times, it may be that a person is not as far along in their spiritual growth process or understanding of Scripture.
It may be that they need time to be refined.
Sometimes people learn through making wrong decisions or by trials that show just how far we still have to go in growing.

Public teaching that is error can be addressed publicly (pastors are to address it in a different way than confrontation of false teachers and teaching may be needed by pastors elders), but there is a fine line between someone who intentionally leads people astray and someone who is in error who needs gentle correction.

Protecting sheep is good, but the difficulty is to do so without harming other sheep or the reputation of the Church at large.

No matter how error or blatant sin is addressed, someone will be offended.
The difficulty is to speak the truth in love.
It should be the Biblical truth we stand on that they have a problem with - rather than how we say it.
This would be true with dealings with Christians and non-Christians alike.

I have seen many believers unwilling to stay friends with each other when they have strong disagreements, though I believe they are likely all true Christians.
This is true of a number of relationships, so don't take this as being only about one situation.

While secondary separation is sometimes necessary, people needn't be unforgiving and harsh when two people are truly Christian brothers (or sisters).

Patience, love, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness... 
these are all things that should be what Christians exemplify....even if we can't support the behavior or decisions of someone else.
God has been patient with me.  He loved me even when I was His enemy.  He loves me though I still sin and don't want to.
I'm much like the person J.C. Ryle described who struggles with assurance confusing justification and sanctification though I have knowledge of the difference. 
If God is patient with me, I shouldn't shun others (though there may be some I wouldn't publicly endorse).

True Christians have unity around the Gospel, and we can strongly disagree about some things while letting each other know that we still love each other.
Sometimes our behavior seems to contradict what we say.
One day all true Christians will be in Heaven together.
We'd best remember that.

This post is me digging in and thinking out loud.
May it be of some edification for those who read it.

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
Ephesians 4:15 NASB

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mercy Day & Reviving New England

Mercy Day
September 13 is Mercy Day.
It is a day when Christians can remind the world what the rainbow is really all about.
Not long ago, the Creation Museum in Kentucky opened a replica of the ark that God had Noah build.  I have seen pictures taken by a family member, and it is quite amazing.
In the days of Noah, people did what was right in their own eyes (evil) much like today it seems, and God sent a flood...waters from below and from above...which catastrophically destroyed people and change the surface of the earth.
This is likely why there are layers that have land and sea creatures together in places where the ocean isn't.
Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark survived the worldwide flood.
After they landed on the mountains of Ararat, God put His bow in the sky as a covenant not to flood the entire earth again.
Please check out MercyDay.Com , and you can share about it on your social media pages!
Perhaps next year,  even more people will get involved.

Reviving New England 
A new book that I'm interested in is scheduled to come out on October 15, 2016!
Pastor Nate Pickowicz who once upon a time also wrote a guest post for me, has finally finished his book, and it is ready to come out next month!
After having watched lectures on historical Theology by Nathan Busenitz some time back (which were excellent), I am interested to see what Pastor Nate has to say.
He has some pretty great endorsements.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Was Teresa Really A Saint?

The Roman Catholic Church is declaring "Mother" Teresa a "saint."
So, the Gospel Coalition decided to tell us what they think we should know about her in such a way as we are mostly left to our own discernment to figure out what's wrong ( in this article).
To their credit they admit her views are "irreconcilable with the gospel."

Those already discerning will quickly see what is wrong with Teresa's views shared in their article, but it would have been much better to go over each section of it - pointing out what is wrong for the many who are not discerning.

Even where the writer pointed out how Christians feel (in the TGC article),  I almost felt he was talking about someone else.
I notice he did link to Tim Challies' post about Teresa.
True Christians actually wouldn't have wanted Teresa to be evangelistic, because we want people to become true Christians.
God saves people through hearing the Word of Christ.

I believe we are in a time much like in J. C. Ryle's ...  people are majorly trying to blur the line between Christianity and Roman Catholicism.
We are now in a time where many people (like Rick Warren for example) are calling Catholics "Christians," and praising the seemingly "good" works Catholics have done.
People like Beth Moore want to include Catholics as another group of Christians.
Russell Moore was willing to meet with the pope for a discussion on marriage.

There are so many compromising or completely caving into a false unity, and Rome would love to lull people into thinking that there really is very little difference of importance.
They want us to think the Reformation was a mistake, and they want people to come back into the fold.

When people are persecuted in other countries, they often are called "Christians" when they are Catholic.
We must not blur the lines of distinction, and we really need to learn why this is wrong!
Roman Catholicism has not only erred, they have a false "gospel" that doesn't save.
Whatever came of people who considered the pope as an anti-Christ?

This was my reply on social media to TGC's post:

Teresa had the wrong Gospel, and people who have the wrong Gospel are not saints. 
Only true Christians are saints...all true Christians are...and we didn't earn it in any way. 
I have gotten tired of Christians praising Teresa over the years. 
All our righteousness is as filthy rags. 
People need to study about the Reformation and why it was needed. 
In the 1800s people began to go back to ritualism and J.C. Ryle decried it. 
We should spend more time on studying the truth and evangelizing the living rather than remembering the idols of the unbelieving world. Let's remember true saints instead....or read Hebrews 11!

I did some blog posts in the past on why Christianity and Roman Catholicism are not the same thing (some links may be outdated):

Here is a great link (not by me) to share with those who are Roman Catholics:

Am I Guilty?

I'm a presuppositionalist when it comes to apologetics, so I avoided the original God's Not Dead movie, especially after reading a review on it.
We are not God's judge or jury, and I'm thankful to those who have pointed out from Romans 1 that we don't need to (and shouldn't try to) prove God exists.

I was gong to skip the second movie (God's Not Dead 2) at first, but then I was told it wasn't as bad as the first one.
I decided to watch it with friends and family, and it had its good points and bad.
I'm not too thrilled that it focused so much on proving the historical Jesus, but I did appreciate the certainty that the main character exhibited.
I was a little annoyed with her saying God spoke to her, but since the words came from Scripture I'll give that a pass.

So, though I had issues with some of the movie (and there was a little immodesty too), I'm not going to say you definitely shouldn't watch it or that you should.
I really did like the song "Guilty" though!