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Monday, February 27, 2017

Shepherds' Conference 2017 & An Upcoming Martin Luther Documentary Release

Shepherds' Conference Summit
This week is The Shepherds' Conference Summit at Grace Community Church in California!
They plan to live-stream it once again.
Tuesday kicks off the conference - with John MacArthur at 10 AM Pacific (which is 1 PM Eastern in the U.S.).
The rest of the schedule can be found HERE.
I will have to miss a part of it, but I'm very excited to hear most of it!

Update: Shepherds' Conference Videos are being uploaded.

Shepherds' Conference AUDIO

Luther Documentary
On April 21, 2017, the Luther documentary is finally set to be released!
This is directed by the person who put out the excellent documentary on Charles Spurgeon.
They have announced that it can now be pre-ordered.
LUTHER: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Three Men On Trial This Week For Proclaiming The Gospel - Prayer Request

UPDATE on the men arrested last year while they were proclaiming the Gospel in the U.K.
The trial has begun, and the case may be decided next week.
There were four arrested, but one of them had the charge dropped against him.
One of the men, Mike Stockwell, is a mutual friend of a number of my online acquaintances.
I have been impressed by what I have seen of him.
Please pray.

See the back stories on this:

Four Men Arrested For Proclaiming The Gospel

Mike Overd tells his story.

UPDATE • February 24, 2017 •  Adrian Clark has had the case against him dismissed.
The cases against the two Mikes are still going forward.

UPDATE • February 28, 2017 •   American Mike Stockwell & British Mike Overd ruled "guilty" of "religiously aggravated public disorder."  This is a miscarriage of justice.  They are already having the verdict appealed.  Christians, please pray for these men & the U.K.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Incrementalism vs. Abolishing Abortion

Many of us would agree that we want to see abortion stopped in the U.S.

MacArthur on abortion. (I don't have his certainty about babies going to Heaven.) 

Some people are discouraged regarding the idea of being able to end abortion, and they promote incrementalism.
After all, the courts and governors stop bills that would abolish abortion. 

Some people say that incrementalism shouldn't be accepted or doesn't really stop abortion. 
Yes, it is true that some people just use pills instead of the surgical abortion, and some people travel to another area. 
Incrementalism certainly isn't what we should strive for, as it doesn't save all babies (and some bills need to be cautiously read lest you deny the personhood of the preborn child).

Then there are some people who think that Christians should take over the government.
That can be based on their eschatological view.
I believe that these people are confused in their understanding of Scripture.
That kind of thing did happen in history (in England, for example), but it wasn't a perfect utopia either.

Seeking for an end to abortion is not a bad thing, but there are important things to consider.
Making murder illegal (since murder is a sin against God) is a good thing, but it won't change hearts rebellious toward God.
This means that all our striving may be futile unless people are changed by God (not us).

Our primary goal then, as Christians, should be to evangelize the lost. This can happen at abortion clinics and elsewhere.
We can pray for changed hearts, and for God to cause things to change.
He is sovereign even over evil nations.

Christians should not attack other Christian brothers and sisters who may not have the same zeal as others for going to abortion clinics.
The body of Christ has many different parts, and while encouraging evangelism is good...attacking other Christians for not being militant is wrong. 

Why I would stay away from AHA  ◄ Please listen to the audio.
This is a group that many people who want to abolish abortion have turned to, but it has had issues since its inception.
The audio I've linked should be a red flag to those who support them.
Numerous pastors have called Pastor Ramos (of in Texas about AHA.  

We are to love our brothers and sisters, encourage them, and realize that God may be using them in ways that are just as important.
 Just as important???
 Yes.  Let's say the person is a pastor who teaches the Bible.
 God uses pastors to make the truth about God and the Gospel known (by their teaching of the Bible), and people become Christians.
Eternal souls are saved, and people are growing spiritually. 
Yes, some pastors do go out and preach at clinics, but that doesn't make those who don't less spiritual. 
 What if the person is not a pastor, but they have a family that they are responsible for (which keeps them from going out)?
God gives them responsibilities to their family, and maybe they are being used to minister to others in ways that you can't see.
There are some things that we should not separate over.

Maybe a person voted for Trump, and you don't think they are pro-life enough.
Maybe a person didn't vote for Trump, and you don't think they are pro-life enough.
Maybe you don't even like the term "pro-life" (as you feel they don't do enough).
Yet, your motives may actually be the same.  Neither of you are for killing babies. 
In some cases, a person may vote for an incremental bill. 
They may hope to save some lives.
You may decide that person is wicked, because some babies are still being murdered.
Your goals may be the same as that person.  You both may want all lives to be saved.
Remember who you used to be, and be careful of self-righteousness in who you've become.
You may be in great danger of straying from Biblical behavior.
We should not separate ourselves from each other.
We need each other!

Christians, please let us love one another!
Love is from God.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Don't I Hear God's Voice?

God has spoken through His Word. We are not called to look for God's voice outside of His written Word.
We don't need to seek emotional highs.

It is easy to get disappointed when your expectations are up due to people telling you about hearing God speak to them - apart from Scripture.
Yet, they are creating false expectations.

Two articles are very good explanations on this subject.
I may have shared one of them with you in the past.

Please Stop Saying - God Told Me - Josh Buice

Follow God's Will (and never mind the mystery)

Good news! God is at work in the lives of those who who trust Him.

Look at the example of Ruth. The doctrine of providence was at work in her life.
She didn't get some extra-Biblical revelation, yet God directed the events of her life.
Her background and the death of her first husband wasn't an easy beginning, but then those who turn to faith in God aren't called to an easy life.

Joseph is another example.
He suffered great injustice at the hands of his brothers and due to Potiphar's wife... first being sold into slavery & then imprisoned.
God's hand was in that as well.

Miracles in history were unusual events (as we see recorded in the Bible) that came with lengthy spaces between them.
We no longer need them to validate God's Word and messengers to us (as they did then). 
We now have God's salvation plan recorded for us!

I would encourage people to read the Bible daily (and not a paraphrase)....the NASB, ESV, NKJV, or even the KJV are good examples of versions to choose from.
Knowing the truth can help us discern what is false.
When you read the Bible, you will find that God is not silent.
You don't have to hear a sound, but His words to us are there.
He is listening to the prayers of His sheep, and His hand is at work though we don't hear a noise.

I'd recommend the book Reviving New England by Pastor Nate Pickowicz, as it will help you see what a healthy church should look like.
It's not just for those in New England.
We need to get back to basics!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Discernment - Truth Offends

There are many people wittingly or unwittingly bringing error and heresy into the church.
Some of them have conferences that people are encouraged to attend or stream into the church.
There are times when a lot of truth is taught, and yet a little poison can do much damage.
They can be men or women.

Christians need to be discerning, and we need to know the Scriptures to be able to examine what we hear to see - whether these things are so.
Sometimes some thing may sound wise or even Scriptural when you look at a verse or two, but then we still need to look at ALL of the Scriptures.
It is easy to be fooled, and some people teach in ambiguous terminology that can even confuse me as to their meaning.

There are some people who call people heretics when the people accused are teaching Biblical truth, so how do we know who is telling the truth?
We need to know essential Bible doctrines.

People can be at different levels of spiritual growth, so we should try to show grace to those who may truly be Christians while still warning of the error.
Even then, people may shun us or block us on social media.
It should be the truth that offends rather than our rudeness.
We need to remember that we did not always have as much Biblical knowledge as we might now, and we still have plenty of room for spiritual growth and Biblical study.

I'm concerned that some of my best online friends might shun me for often being unable to make it to church anymore (due to different health issues) ... and not having a local church that I feel I can join even for the times I do make it.
I get discouraged about these things, because I want to obey God.
I want to be able to go to church, and it makes me cry sometimes when I'm not feeling up to even going to any church.
When I do go, I have been struggling to even make it through the service.
I am blessed with streaming Biblical churches online, but it is hard to not have more.
I am blessed by online fellowship, since I'm unable to get much in person.
So, we need to be careful before making blanket statements about individuals.

Three articles on discernment that I recommend:

1.   Discernment: Spiritual Survival for a Church in Crisis  - GTY

2.   False Teachers & Deadly Doctrines - Tim Challies

3.   7 False Teachers In The Church Today - Tim Challies

"Satan’s greatest ambassadors are not pimps, politicians, or power-brokers, but pastors" .- Tim Challies

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Message For You To Share

I spent much of my day working on a project that presented many obstacles to complete!
It not only shares some of the paintings I've done, but more importantly it shares a message I wanted to spread .
Please share it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When Doubts Arise - MacArthur's Encouraging Q & A Response

John MacArthur did a Q &A that we heard when it was live-streaming.
I honestly can relate to the struggles this woman has.
Many people have thoughts that torment them (and that they hate having), and I believe Satan uses them to make us less effective.

I hope that this will encourage some of you as it does me, and it's good to keep reminding ourselves of the truth.