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Monday, December 23, 2019

The Shepherds' Conference 2020 Is Coming Soon!

The Shepherds' Conference in 2020 (for pastors, elders, and church leaders) is slated to be on Doctrine.
This is a good time to be focusing on that, because a lot of churches are going off course.
They usually live-stream the conference (at least in recent years), so I'm hopeful it will happen again this next time!

Most of the speakers (but not all) are going to be "in house" so to speak (with connections to Grace Community Church, The Master's Seminary & University).
Steve Lawson teaches some at the seminary, and even H. B. Charles got an honorary degree from TMS.
I don't know of any direct connection with Conrad Mbewe or Paul Washer, so they are exceptions.
John MacArthur, Paul Twiss, Nathan Busenitz, Mike Riccardi, Abner Chou, Austin Duncan, and Phil Johnson are all on the list of speakers. 
I have been blessed to live-stream them even when they speak at Grace Community Church, and so I feel quite safe to recommend them.

I tweeted a suggestion after the last conference that they do an "in house" one the next time, so I'm happy to see that it is planned to be mostly that.
I'm not saying that they did it because of me, but I'd like to imagine they noticed the tweet!

The conference is scheduled for March 4-6th.  You can watch the video below as well as visit the the Shepherds Conference Site.

John MacArthur on Shepherds’ Conference 2020 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert Announcement Plus James Phillips Sings a Carol

Concert Notice

I'm excited to tell you that they have finally officially announced one of the Grace Community Church Christmas Concerts will be live-streamed on Sunday, December 22, 2019!
I was hopeful they would do it again this year as in the past.
It's been one of the highlights of December for me in recent years.

The time of the concert is 6 PM Pacific / 8 PM Central / 9 PM Eastern U.S. time.
Stream it at:
Grace Church LIVE

Update: You can watch the recorded Concert HERE.

Christmas Carol Music

James Phillipps has sung quite a bit at Grace Community Church in recent years (but will not be singing at the concert this year), and I'll admit I do like to hear his voice.
He has reminded me a little of the style of Matthew Ward (someone I used to hear some in the past - having grown up listening to a lot of Christian music).
This particular style (double voiced) is a lot different than what I'm used to hearing from him!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

My First Thoughts on the Documentary "By What Standard?"

A new documentary was just released by Founders Ministries, and it is called "By What Standard?"
It explains why critical race theory and intersectionality should not be used as "analytical tools" in the church (specifically talking about the Southern Baptist Conference).
The terms "critical race theory" & "intersecionality" are complicated, so I will encourage you to watch the documentary for a further explanation on what it's about.

The documentary sounds a warning bell of the dangers ahead for those opening the door to using the social theories mentioned above.  
From what I've seen online people are already biting the baited hook and are placing identity & victimhood over Scripture.
They are letting cultural acceptance & ideals corrupt their view of what the Bible clearly says.

I appreciated the film, and I only noticed a couple of things that I would give a disclaimer on.

One is name of the program / podcast that Summer Jaegar has to do with.  
I don't even want to share the name.
I know some are annoyed that I take offense at it, but others will understand. 
Secondly, I do not believe that social work is a "gospel issue."  
The man (sorry, I don't know who he was) may have been meaning that Christians will be transformed as a result of the Gospel (being saved), and will have fruit.  
(Plus, I know people can do mercy ministry where the true Gospel is proclaimed).
Also, the miracles the apostles did were signs of their apostolic authority.

That being said, this was an important documentary, and I hope many people will take heed.
Please don't be put off by the terminology, if you haven't heard it before.

You can watch the documentary it HERE

Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries who was a large part of the documentary recently had a medical emergency, but he is doing better.  You can read some about that HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2019

False Comparison: Skin Color & Physical Behavior + a Message for "Transgenders"

I recently read an article about category mistakes...where people try to compare skin color to homosexual behavior.
Another headline summary I saw recently compared those offended by a biological male being in the girls shower or locker room to those uncomfortable during the time of desegregation. 
Yikes!  That is not the same thing at all!  

This ridiculous ploy is the type some took to try to demean being against the legalization of calling homosexual behavior "marriage" before the U.S. "Supreme" Court made a colossal wrong decision on it. 
Someone wanted to equate my being against homosexual sin being called "marriage" to those prejudiced based on skin color in past days.  
They thought people like me were on "the wrong side of history."
It is a category mistake calling something "marriage" when it doesn't meet the Biblical standard for what marriage truly is (and God knows better than any human court). 
Believing what God says may get a person insulted and mislabeled, but it is better to be insulted for what is right than what is not.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27 NASB

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?  “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Matthew 19:4-6 NASB

People need to turn from sin and to Christ. 
You don't turn from skin color (which is a blessing that God created that should be appreciated). 
You also cannot truly change what you are biologically no matter what hormones are given or the surgeries that try to change appearance.  
Some may call themselves gender fluid, but God is the one who determines what category you are biologically.  We can't change that, and it is good and right to be satisfied.
You repent of sin.  Sin is wrong.  Sin is something against God.  It is rebellion.
Skin color & the biological sex that God created you is something right (and a blessing from God).

As far as those who are biologically a male or female who want to be or feel like they should be something else (identifying as "transgender"), I am sharing the following message I heard recently by Don Green that could change your life..  I do care.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Christmas Music Time

I enjoy sharing some music remembering the birth of Christ this time of year, so here it goes!

This first one is not brand new (though newer), but I did not readily recognize it!

Here is an old classic, only this girl is using a ukulele.
 I enjoy finding songs sung by kids now and then.
(No, it's not an endorsement of everything they have done.)


Friday, November 29, 2019

An Amazing Testimony

I just watched an amazing testimony of how God used a man in Ghana who was willing to stand strong on what Scripture teaches. 
This was a situation where Traditionalists heard the truth, and you can find out what happened.
I hope that you will take the time to watch it through!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Should We Seek After Wealth?

I recently searched out some Scriptures that I was familiar with on the subject of wealth.

Here are my short observations along with the Bible verses:

Money can be an idol.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 6:24 NASB

The guy claiming to Jesus that he kept the commandments put things (wealth) ahead of God.

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
Matthew 19:20-22 NASB

Wealth can choke out the Word.

“And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19 NASB

God can and does save rich people.

And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:23-26 NASB

Seeking wealth is spiritually dangerous.

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 
1 Timothy 6:9 NASB

We cannot trust in wealth, so we shouldn't focus on it.

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
Proverbs 23:4-5 NASB

Eternal treasures are better than earthly wealth.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NASB

Christians who are wealthy should do good and focus on eternal things.

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NASB

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

William Cowper Revisited

I recently started listening to a CD biography about William Cowper (given to me as a gift).
The story was written from the viewpoint of the lady in whose house Cowper was a lodger.
It has letters and poetry blended into the story, and I'm learning more than my little online reading about him revealed (which I had shared about HERE a previous time).

I do enjoy hearing English accents, although my brain isn't always as quick to process it...especially the poetry parts.
I'm not generally keen on a lot of poetry other than as used for songs, but this hasn't gotten too bogged down with it.
So far, so good!

The following video is the author describing more about the biography.
Her voice seems to be the female one on the CD that I've been listening to (there is also a male voice at times).

Trailer for the Life of William Cowper from Abigail Fox on Vimeo.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Critical Race Theory & Wokeness Taken to Task by Christian Rapper

Sometimes I highlight some of the interesting people that I run across on social media.

I have seen one fellow who has reached out to be a Christian witness to others...especially to a particular cult. 

I also have seen something of videos he has shared on the doctrines of grace (TULIP).

Recently, I have seen his standing up against the "Woke" craze that has infiltrated some of the church in the U.S.
(Remember the Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel that became necessary due to the new downgrade?)

The other day, he released a video pointing out the problem with Critical Race Theory and being "Woke", and it has already been shared a bit by those I know.

I'm not typically a fan of rap, but the words on this are important for many to hear.
There needs to be continued correction on this topic, and I'm thankful for those who are willing to stand up for the truth.

The person speaking near the end of it is Voddie Baucham.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

John MacArthur, Beth Moore, & Truth Matters

Not long ago, a number of people criticized John MacArthur after the Truth Matters Conference due to his saying "Go home" as a first short response to "Beth Moore" in a word association Todd Friel did during a Q & A time.
John later made the point that women are not qualified to teach church (the Scripture proves him right).

"I think the church is caving in to women preachers." - John MacArthur

Beth Moore has actually taught once or twice at churches on a Sunday morning, so she has gone even further than she had in the past.

Here are just some of the issues and observations I have with Beth Moore:

She does not accurately handle the Scriptures.

She has connected herself with known false teachers.

I saw a video once where she included Roman Catholics as another denomination.
(Perhaps she just has not been taught well, but should someone not taught well be teaching lots of women?)

She also has taught contemplative prayer (which is not Biblical) and often claims the Lord told her things (although she hasn't heard Him audibly).

She does not respond kindly to questioning or attempts to correct her.

She does need to stop teaching and to start listening to some sound Biblical teaching.

Back to the Q & A topic:

Being good at speaking doesn't qualify one as a Bible teacher or church leader.
Not even all men are qualified (1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1).

Paula White was also mentioned in the segment of the Q & A, and so it went on from just being about one person.  CRT infiltrating the church (esp. Southern Baptists) was also brought up.

Some people in response to what they saw online about the conference have made wrongful assumptions about the hearts & motives of the speakers and hearers and simply want to judge their impression of the "tone."
Some don't even seem to know the context at all, and have made erroneous conclusions entirely.
Others probably didn't watch most of the conference. 
I wish they had!
Sadly, Beth has not heeded the concerns of many (even some I know of who used soft words).
In the Bible, those who led others astray were warned about quite strongly.

Sure, giving such a short simple answer in the word association amused the people listening, but that wasn't about mean-spiritedness.  I thought it was fairly mild of John.  Phil was a little stronger, but we shouldn't minimize the harm of wrong teaching.
He had previously given a mild critique of what she had taught.
There was serious talk and pointing out of truth in the answers in that segment of the Q & A alone, and the problems going on today mentioned went beyond Beth Moore.
Christians don't have to have people be too soft when trying to protect the sheep, but John MacArthur was not what I would call harsh...just simple and to the point.  His comments were more about the qualification issue.

John MacArthur gave a further explanation on women's role in the church from Scripture on Nov. 3, 2019 at Grace Community Church.
The title was:
"Does the Bible Permit a Woman to Preach?" 
He used OT and NT texts.
The primary text was 1 Cor. 14:33-28.
You should be able to hear for yourself a more comprehensive Biblical explanation of what John was trying to say.
UPDATE:  Click HERE for the message link or HERE for the video.

The taking over of pulpits and preaching by those the Scripture strictly forbids to do it is a serious problem, and trying to put popular cultural theories and practices in the church is a corruption that is destructive.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Truth Matters Audio, Answering Transgenderism, & Kanye's Conversion

Truth Matters Conference Audio
I watched most of the Truth Matters conference live-streaming the other week, but our internet was having issues and went out entirely for the last couple of sessions.
The audio of the conference is beginning to be added to the GTY web page.
You can find them HERE.  
UPDATE: I still haven't seen the Q & A sessions put up yet.

Answering Transgenderism
I have shared messages from Don Green of Truth Community Church in Cincinatti, OH in the past.
Recently, he's started a series to help the church in responding to the issue of those claiming to be something other than what they are born biologically.  Tuesday night, he gave a third message on the subject that you can listen to HERE.
UPDATE: The series can be found HERE (it's almost done).
For reference, John MacArthur gave a short response on Transgenderism and pronouns HERE.

Kanye's Conversion
I had only heard a little about Kanye West in the past, and that was mostly related to politics (from my vague recollection).
Many people have heard about his profession of faith and his having "Sunday Services" which are not really church services.
A lot of my friends online know more...that he visited a church where Adam Tyson is pastor for a few weeks (before moving to another state). 
I had heard Adam Tyson when there was a Master's Seminary chapel live-streamed earlier this year, and so I thought he was familiar when I saw him preaching the Gospel on a video of a Kanye concert that was being shared about.

Some of you may have already watched these, but I want to share the two interviews with Adam Tyson that I've heard for reference.

Wrath & Grace Interviewing Adam Tyson 

Adam Tyson on Apologia (I think the interview finishes at around 42 minutes.)

I have had a couple of concerns about some connections reported that Kanye has made with people who are not sound. 
That doesn't automatically mean that we should doubt his salvation.
Many new believers can have wolves in sheep's clothing come after them for their own purposes.

While being concerned, we can still rejoice that Kanye has professed faith, and that he is being discipled by a Biblically sound teacher (Adam). 
Kanye's fame doesn't make Christianity more credible, and we don't need fame from the world.
It is just good for me to see his enthusiasm as a new convert.
It is also neat for me to see Adam's enthusiasm for ministry as well, and that he holds to the truth.
I think that it would be good for Kanye to step back and be grounded more in the faith to be able to discern when the enemy tries to make inroads and attack.
He is not ready to teach as a new convert, although I'm not opposed to him sharing his testimony.

A lot of people have professed faith, and like in the parable of the soils have turned out not to be rooted true believers.
Trials prove they are not (after the initial enthusiasm), or they apostatize (proving they weren't saved).
That's why I understand those who are cautious.
Like with anyone who professes faith, we look for the lasting produce of the fruit of the good soil.
For now we should rejoice though, because the Gospel is being proclaimed.
We can rejoice that someone is eager to study the Bible and seems to have turned to Christ.
Christians should have genuine hope, and I think that most people do.
We don't need to jump on each other, but we should pray!

UPDATE:  One of the wolves that Kanye has connected with & wrongfully recommended is Joel Osteen...someone you should stay far, far away from.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Truth Matters Conference Notes (Sessions 1 & 2)

The following are my own notes copied from my social media account.
Some parts are quotes.
Due to difficulty with my hands (etc.), this is likely all that I will share with you of them on this blog.

Session 1 

It's so normal to violate the moral and spiritual laws of God that our nation is making laws to protect that.

"The real terrorists in America are those who advocate abortion."

The Gospel always offends the contented sinner living in deception.
"Sin is bondage. Forgiveness of sin is freedom."

Suppressing the truth is motivated by a love for sin.

(Romans 1:24,26-27)

for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
2 Cor. 10:4 NASB

Spiritual war is bringing down can't use rock & roll or pragmatism.

The election coming up next year is a referendum on Divine wrath.

You must fight...earnestly for the faith...the Christian faith...Divine truth revealed in the once for all delivered Scripture.

They're not all on the outside.

Antinomians are no better than legalists. They both define Christianity by the law (instead of loving Christ).

These were things that I got from listening online to John MacArthur (Session 1 / Day 1 of the Truth Matters Conference).

Session 2

For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, (From Isaiah 61:10 NASB)

There is no other authority that is equal to Scripture... All ecclesiastical opinions must be judged by Scripture..not vice versa.

The new Calvinism was deemed new, because they wanted to make room for the Charismatic movement...

"We need to let the word of God interpret our experiences rather than the other way around."

“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 
Jeremiah 17:9 NASB 
Your heart tells you that God thinks the way you do.

"You can't blame the Devil for the evil that you do." 

 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; (From Matt. 15:19 & part of vs. 20)

These were things that I got from listening online to Phil Johnson (Session 2 / Day 1 of the Truth Matters Conference).

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Truth Matters Update, Masters of Disguise, & My Father's Care

Truth Matters Update
The Truth Matters Conference is this week at Grace Community Church in southern California (October 16-18th, 2019).
For those who didn't see my update on my previous post, you should be able to live-stream it on (or HERE).

Session 1 with John MacArthur began at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern / 6 PM BST

UPDATE:  They are now adding some of the audio to the conference page HERE.

Day 2  starts with Jeff Williams at 9 AM Pacific / 12 noon Eastern / 5 PM BST
John MacArthur is scheduled for 11 AM Pacific / 2 PM Eastern / 7 PM BST
Mike Riccardi, a Q & A, & Phil Johnson come later.

Day 3 is scheduled to start with Voddie Baucham at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern / 6 PM BST
Next comes Mike Riccardi, another Q & A, and then John MacArthur is scheduled to close out the conference.

You can find the rest of the schedule on the conference page HERE.

Masters of Disguise
Mike Riccardi (at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA) preached a message recently on Satan painting sin with virtue's colors & the really good costumes Satan makes for his followers.
You should be able to hear it HERE.

My Father's Care 
Recently I shared another music track by Darby Hughes on my blog, and I ended up listening to other music by him after that.
My family has been going through a difficult time lately physically, and it is making it a challenge to even get a dinner ready or groceries.
Even using my hands on here is painful.
If you are going through a hard time as a believer, this song may encourage you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Problem of Evil

We live in fallen & cursed world because of sin, but Heaven will not be so.

Recently in social media someone asked about why there is evil in this world.
The person asked about Lucifer's sinning, and if he could sin, couldn't we in Heaven?
These types of questions get me searching things out...sometimes from things that I have shared in the past from others!
My responses may not always be direct answers, but I hope that they are helpful in some way.

God uses secondary causes. He is not the chargeable cause of evil, but He foreordains all things.
(I think that this was from Mike Riccardi.)

Evil serves God's purpose.
We have a God who is sovereign over evil.
He is not victimized by the problem of evil.
His Son the second Adam will resolve evil and bring satisfactory judgment.

(This was from listening to Abner Chou.)

What Joseph's brothers meant for evil (putting him in a pit and selling him into bondage), God meant for good. 
Job's suffering was also something that God purposed for his ultimate good. 
The same is true of all believers.

"God continually upholds His entire creation and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish His purposes."
- Don Green (Truth Community Church)


We will not sin anymore in our resurrected bodies in Heaven.
I can't tell you why Lucifer wanted to exalt himself, but rest assured there will be no more of that after the final judgment.

Also, there will be no more death for believers.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 25:34 NASB

for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Luke 20:36

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:2 NASB

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;
Revelation 22:3 NASB


The unbeliever is enslaved to sin. Only in Christ is there freedom. Christians are being conformed into the image of Christ. 

"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge"
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 NASB

Thursday, September 26, 2019

On Loan from the Lord, Social Justice's Threat, & "When I Am Afraid"

On Loan from the Lord...

One of the times I watched a graduation of The Master's Seminary (streaming it), a name of a man was mentioned, but this was different than the reading of the other names of those who were receiving diplomas.  
This man had gone to be with the Lord.
He left a family behind, and his wife (widow) has written a book that she hopes will be an encouragement to others.  It is scheduled to be out on Kindle on September 27, 2019.

It is already available in paperback:
On Loan from the Lord: A Memoir of the Life and Ministry of J.D. Seibert - by Erika Seibert

The Threat of "Social Justice"
Earlier this month, Darrell Harrison (a man who works at GTY and is in the Podcasting world) spoke on the subject of social justice.  "Social Justice" seems to be a popular fad even in churches these days.  He explained why it is a threat to the church, and how the church should respond.
You can watch it HERE.

"When I Am Afraid" - This is a new song out that was shared with me, and I am passing it along to my blog readers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Truth Matters Conference Streamed & John MacArthur on Willingness to Fight

Truth Matters Conference Streaming!

The Truth Matters Conference (on the Sufficiency of Scripture) at Grace Community Church in California is October 16-18, 2019.
They just shared that it will be live-streamed!
I'll try to get a link to share later.

For now I would recommend to check out the link Truth Matters for the conference live-stream info. (starting Wednesday) & schedule (or possibly HERE & log in).

Here is the first session's time:
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
John MacArthur
10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern / 6 PM BST / 3 AM (Oct. 17 AEST) / 6 AM (Oct 17 NZDT)

Willingness to Fight

On September 17, 2019, John MacArthur spoke at The Master's Seminary Chapel.
He talked about battles.
"It's not enough to take a stand where there's no battle. Where the battle is, is where you demonstrate your faithfulness." - John MacArthur

“Contending For the Faith” (Jude 1-4) by Dr. John MacArthur - TMS Chapel - September 17, 2019 from The Master's Seminary on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Encouraging Messages Not to Miss & Cuteness for Your Day


"God continually upholds His entire creation and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish His purposes."  
Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Church, in the Cincinnati area of Ohio, has recently finished delivering up some really encouraging sermons about the doctrine of Divine providence.
If you are a Christian going through difficult times, this series is helpful.

God Over All             God Over Evil           God Over You      

Providence: The Will and the Way

These were my Tweets from listening to one of the above messages Don Green gave:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NASB

Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Part of Job 2:10 NASB

God is sovereign. He may bring adversity to sanctify believers & wean affections from the world.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 NASB

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB

We should not twist the doctrine of God's providence/Sovereign control to justify sin.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “ If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:14-15 NASB

We should give our plans to God & trust Him for the outcome. God may thwart your plans...even good ones. Your plans are subject to the providence of God.

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NASB

Do we trust the providence of God no matter what...even when His plans are different than ours?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7 NASB

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NASB

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. Psalm 42:5 NASB

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 42:11 NASB

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB


Posted by Michelle Figueroa-Cardenas on Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday, August 30, 2019

Testimony of a Pastor & Lordship Salvation Explained

Testimony of a Pastor

The following is the testimony of Nate Pickowicz who was kind enough to write a blog post for me a few years back.

I've also read a couple of books he's written (Reviving New England & Why We're Protestant).
 (I don't know the people who did the video.)

Lordship Salvation Explained

In recent times, I've come across people online who are against "Lordship Salvation."
This video interview of Phil Johnson about it should be helpful to those who do not truly understand what it is and what it is not.
I've not listened to this podcast before, but this episode was worth hearing.
I recommend starting about 5 minutes in:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Strange Journey (Personal)

Early this week, we got a ride from my brother to a town less than an hour away.
We had appointments for two of us in my family, and we were to spend the night for our miserable backs to recover for the trip back.

The first thing that went wrong was that our GPS navigation device kept trying to send us to a street that was not where we were attempting to go at all.  After a while, it was finally discovered that somehow it had changed to assimilated driving or some such nonsense.  How?  I do not know.

Later a light was blinking.  It's possible it was due to having too much in the back, but I'm not sure if anything was really open.

Well, we made it to a place to eat before the first appointment.  Everyone else had gotten their food and I was feeling like fainting without any.  Then they let us know my soup wasn't ready, and it would be 10-15 more minutes.  They brought me a croissant.  When the soup came, it was lukewarm.  I ate it that way anyway.

When we left the place, the back of our vehicle wouldn't open at first. 
We tried to discover what was wrong.  I thought maybe something inside was keeping it closed.  Anyway, eventually we got it open to be able to have the wheelchair & walker stored in it.

After two people were dropped off at the hotel, I had to go along for the ride to the first appointment (since we didn't know how long it would be).  My back was miserable sitting in a wheelchair though I did try to elevate my feet for awhile at one point.  Thankfully, we got out in time to make it to my early check in at the next place.

On to my appointment.  We had to wait quite awhile for that (past the appointment time).  It was one of those nerve conduction tests where they shock & prick you which left me with a couple of bleeding spots that were bandaged.

We picked up food (I stayed reclining in the vehicle) and went back to the hotel.  Well, one of the fast food places had forgotten to fill part of the order, so a couple of people went back to get that.

Here is the last bit I'll share.  Two people were planning to sleep on a sofa bed. 
After they were laying there for a bit, we heard calls for help. 
The foot of the bed was rising up like it was trying to shut back up (though it had been fully opened).  A people eating sofa bed? 
It reminded me of an old comedy movie!

Yesterday something started happening on my face that scared me and set me into tears..tears for what was happening and tears for our situation. 
My Dad encouraged me, though our situation hasn't changed.

I'd appreciate prayer for that I will not be anxious and depressed and also that God will help us through and provide help (and healing if it's His will).

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

William Cowper's Struggles (Plus Some of His Poetry Set to Music)

I was looking for hymns by William Cowper yesterday, and I ended up by reading more about his life.
"There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" and "God Moves in a Mysterious Way" are some of the lyrics you may be familiar with of the hymns he wrote.

I had heard some about Cowper's life in the past, but I didn't remember a lot of it.
His mother reportedly died when he was 6.
He made it through schooling to be a lawyer, and he fell in love with his cousin whom he was not allowed to marry.

The stress of trying to get a clerkship position in the House of Lords broke him.
He made three attempts on his life. 
He ended up in a "Insanorum" where he reportedly converted to Evangelicalism (which means he became a Christian).

He had the influence of some good friends in his life, and he seemed to improve for awhile and be encouraged spiritually.
He also sat under the teaching of John Newton and collaborated with him in the writing of hymns.
One online biography tried to make it sound as though what they call Newton's "despondence" was a bad atmosphere for Cowper, but something else I read makes it pretty clear that claim on that biography was utter nonsense.
Some of the critics are likely anti-Calvinist (as though Newton's Calvinism caused Cowper to have further mental problems).
Cowper was reportedly Calvinistic before meeting Newton, and some things that he wrote make it sound like Newton was just the opposite of a bad influence on him.
He was really an encouragement.
I too believe in the Biblical doctrines which many label "Calvinism."

One site mentioned that William's brother died a year before he lapsed into another time of mental instability.
That bout seemed to have ended the idea of his marrying the widow (Mary Unwin) who nursed him.  He was living with her family before she was a widow and continued in her care until she needed care herself.

 He had fears that he was going to go to Hell and had nightmares and delusionally thought God had commanded him to kill himself.
He improved and was encouraged by Mary to write as well as another widow encouraged his writing.

Mary became ill and paralyzed (this is what I read anyway) and died, and Cowper became despondent again after that until he died of dropsy.
I read that his nephew reported that shortly before he passed on that his sad face took on " a look of wonder and inexpressible delight."  

I found a poem of William Cowper's set to music in my searching.
Perhaps some of the most encouraging people may be the ones who need the most comfort from God.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Shocked Nation

The rapidity of the recent mass shootings in the U.S. has shocked many (in California, Texas, and Ohio).
Many think new laws are the answer to murder.
California has strict gun control laws, and one of the three recent shootings was there.
People will always find ways to kill.
Criminals don't care about gun laws or any other laws you throw at them.
They will find ways around them or create their own weapons.
The problems in this world are not caused by weapons but by the sin reigning in the hearts of sinful people.
No particular group of people has a corner on the market of sin.

Many nations, including the U.S., slaughter innocent babies in the womb or even after birth.
Yes, some allow infanticide (and even sometimes forced abortion).
Some allow for assisted suicide (which is just as sinful).
Some allow murder by intentionally denying water and food to helpless individuals speeding up their death by murder.
And that is just in the countries where people think they are civilized.

There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:

Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,

A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB

Everyone comes into this world a sinner, and all kinds of sinfulness is exalted in this world...not just murder.

God turns people over to sin when they rebel against Him (Romans 1). 
Increased violence is a symptom of what's in the hearts of mankind.

The only thing that changes hearts is a right relationship with God.
We as humans cannot fix things.  We need to turn to the God who created us.
You might think, "I've never killed anyone."   
Have you ever hated anyone?
Do you love & worship the God who made you?  
Have you ever lied, lusted, wanted something that you couldn't have, or stolen anything?  
Have you had physical relations that was not within the relationship of a Scriptural marriage?
Have you loved anything or anyone more than God?

Please visit the following post on my blog:

Friday, July 26, 2019

Encouragement in Suffering

How Long Must I Suffer?  - Do you ever feel despair in suffering?
You might even be afraid to talk about it with other believers.
The message linked is on Psalm 13, and it is taught by Pastor Don Green in Cincinatti, OH.

Something Better than Life - This message was also given by Don Green, and it is another encouraging message on God's being able to preserve His children until we reach our final destination.

Chris & Rich are a couple of guys that I listen to the podcast of on a regular basis.
On their most recent podcast they addressed the subject of those who suffer - including how not to respond to or address those going through difficult times.

Last but not least, the following is some music for your day sung by James Phillipps.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Czym jest ewangelia? - The Gospel in Polish

Przyjacielu, Bóg jest święty. 
Istnieje Bóg w niebie, który stworzył ciebie i mnie, i posiada autorytet nad nami. 
Jest doskonale święty. „(Bóg) jest światłością, a nie ma w nim żadnej ciemności” (1 Jana 1:5). Problem w tym taki, że jeśli chcemy mieć relację z Bogiem, musimy także być światłością bez żadnej ciemności. Problem jednak jest taki: jesteśmy ciemnością. Jesteśmy grzeszni. Złamaliśmy Jego prawo. Wszyscy kłamaliśmy, kradliśmy, pożądaliśmy, wszyscy gniewaliśmy się na naszych braci w sercach swoich. Nikt z nas nie spełnia wymaganego przez Boga standardu Jego chwalebnej doskonałości (Rzym. 3:23). I nie jesteśmy w stanie nic z tym zrobić. Żadna ilość uczynków, żadna ilość skruchy, żadna ilość żalu, żadna ilość uczestnictwa w kościele, żadna ilość czytania Pisma Świętego, żadna ilość ewangelizacji nie są w stanie sprawić, byśmy zasłużyli na Boże przebaczenie naszych grzechów i osiągnięcie sprawiedliwości, której oczekuje Bóg (Tytus 3:5; Izaj. 64:6). 

Ale Bóg jest łaskawy i nas kocha. I pragnie wyrazić Swoją chwałę w nas, jako w Swoim stworzeniu, poprzez uratowanie nas od grzechu. Tak więc posłał Swojego Syna – Boga w ludzkim ciele, Jezus Chrystusa Pana – by ten narodził się jako bezbronne dziecię (Ew. Jana 1:14; 3:16; Kol. 2:9). Bóg wszechświata – ten, który podtrzymuje wszechświat Swoja mocą – sam potrzebował podtrzymania w łonie młodej Hebrajki. Ten, który podtrzymuje świat mocą Swego słowa (Hebr. 1:3), potrzebował podtrzymania składnikami odżywczymi jej ciała! Niepojęte! Następnie, w wielkim uniżeniu, dorastał pośród cierpień i boleści życia w upadłym świecie, choć sam pozostał bez grzechu – całkowicie bez grzechu (2 Kor. 5:21; Hebr. 4:15; 7:26). Żył życiem doskonałej sprawiedliwości. W tym w czym ty i ja zawiedliśmy przed obliczem Boga – w naszych myślach, słowach, i czynach, nie spełniając standardu chwały Bożej – Chrystus nigdy nie zawiódł, nawet w myślach. Kochał Boga Swego Ojca, w sposób doskonały. Zawsze postępował doskonale sprawiedliwie. Żył tak jak nam zostało przykazane byśmy żyli, a jednak zawiedliśmy. Żył doskonałym życiem, takim jakie jest godne Boga. 

I nie tylko żył za nas, ale także umarł za nas. Poszedł na krzyż. Nasz grzech wymagał śmierci. Nasz grzech wymagał wiecznej kary. Nasz grzech wymagał gniewu – sprawiedliwego gniewu Bożego wylanego na nas przez wieczność (Rzym. 6:23). Lecz ze względu na nieskończoną wartość Chrystusa, zawisł On na krzyżu. A na tym krzyżu, wylana została na Niego pełnia Bożego gniewu (Rzym. 3:24-26; 2 Kor. 5:21; Gal. 3:10-14), który należał się mnie, i należał się tobie, i którego doświadczysz, jeśli nie odwrócisz się od swoich grzechów i nie złożysz ufności w Mesjaszu. Chrystus narodził się, żył, zmarł i został z wzbudzony z martwych (1 Kor. 15:3-4). Powstał z grobu po tym jak umarł, demonstrując Swoje zwycięstwo na grzechem i śmiercią. 

Teraz Bóg składa obietnicę, że jeśli odwrócisz się od swoich grzechów, wyrzekając się tego wszystkiego kim jesteś, kim byłeś i co kochasz, odwracając się od życia podążającego za grzechem – jeśli wyrzekniesz się nie tylko swoich złych czynów, ale także tych dobrych, odwracając się od starań by zapracować i zasłużyć samemu na zbawienie dobrymi uczynkami i byciem moralną osobą – jeśli odwrócisz się od tego wszystkiego (Dzieje Ap. 17:30-31) i złożysz ufność i pewność jedynie w Chrystusie ku byciu usprawiedliwionym przed Bogiem (Fil. 3:7-8; Rzym. 3:28; 10:4), Bóg obiecuje tobie, że przebaczy twoje grzechy. Bóg spojrzy na Chrystusa na krzyżu jakoby żył On twoim życiem. A następnie spojrzy na ciebie, poczytując ciebie za sprawiedliwego, jakobyś sam żył doskonałym i sprawiedliwym życiem Chrystusa (2 Kor. 5:21). Możesz dostąpić zbawienia, by móc znać Boga. który cię stworzył po to, byś Go kochał i Nim się radował. Możesz posiąść pełnię radości i wieczną przyjemność które pochodzą z przebywania po prawicy Bożej w niebie (Ps. 16:11), a które zaczynają się już tu i teraz, ponieważ życiem wiecznym jest znać Boga (Ew. Jana 17:3). 

Przyjacielu, czy upamiętasz się? 
Czy odwrócisz się od swoich grzechów i założysz ufność w doskonałym Zbawicielu by ten pojednał cię z Bogiem, jako zapłata za twoje grzechy i jako zapewnienie twojej sprawiedliwości?

Oto ewangelia!
Used by permission of Michael Riccardi.
See original text HERE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Don't Touch My Entertainment!

Sometimes it seems like people treat their entertainment as untouchable or a thing apart.
We are looking to escape the stresses of real life and want to feel good, but at what cost?
 We should not fall for the temporary solutions and frail sinful human heroes the world offers.  Our redemption is from Christ, & it's for eternity.
(This came from hearing Chris Hamilton of Grace Community Church.)
Are we looking for happily ever after here on earth? 
What if we get trials and suffering?
Are we desiring what we don't have?
Are we practicing idolatry?

Christians today often seem to be just as entertainment-driven as those in the world, but what are people filling their minds with and how does it affect them? 
Are we looking to what spews out sin and expecting it not to have any consequences in our own behavior and way of speaking?
 Does it not teach us to wink at sin and look for rescue outside of Christ? 

I have seen solid Christians praising the latest movies, and when I look movie reviews up I see that what is being watched dishonors God by using His name in vain or spews out language that is not fitting.  I've touched this subject before.
Is our entertainment an untouchable subject?  Do people get mad when I  mention it?
I'm not saying that I have never watched things that I would have been better off having skipped.
I may wonder that some can watch some of what they watch, but we are all pretty inconsistent at times, aren't we?  I know I am.

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Ephesians 5:3-5 NASB

I have heard believers using God's name in a casual way (what I call in vain) when not talking to or about Him, but rather as an exclamation...just like the world does. 
They may not intend it, but they hear it so often that it slips out.

We often quote from our favorite movies and songs, don't we?
How often do we quote them, and then how often do we quote Scripture?
Something to think about.

If a movie, TV program, or other entertainment source shows disrespect, features immoral relationships (or show acceptance of one), or accepts other sinful behavior, do you think that people watching aren't going to become more accepting of that behavior?
Are we desensitizing ourselves to the sinfulness of sin?
Does the kind of crudity, immodesty, suggestiveness, and worldly values (whatever is popular at the time) watched help us to honor God or dishonor Him?

Here are some supplemental links:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Christian Encouragement, Creative Christian Women, & a Personal Update

Christian Encouragement
Is there someone that you can think of to encourage today?
Andrew Rappaport did some 2-minute podcasts  highlighting encouragement.

We All Need Encouragement

Encourage Someone Today

Creative Christians Ladies
There are a lot of creative Christian ladies who make things to sell from home.
The following are just a few of their that you can check out:

Teenzy Treasures

Personal Update: 
A family member has a torn carotid and had a stroke this month on top of all of the other things going on.   There are other things also going on that need to be dealt with.
It seems that we are being overwhelmed, and we need to depend solely on God.
I'm still having high & low pulses amongst other things and not feeling well myself which discourages me.
I know others are suffering out there, and I'm thankful that people are praying for each other.
It is good to try to not always focus just on our own suffering (though it can be hard not to)!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Christians Who Deny Inerrancy Plus a Recap of My Emergency & Heart Surgery

How should we respond to those who deny inerrancy?
I've run across a lot of "Christians" who deny the parts of Scripture they don't like.
Here is John MacArthur's response:
John MacArthur's response to Christians who deny Biblical Inerrancy

Personal update:

 I called  911 with my pulse dropping a second time & feeling faint on May 25.
I was alone due to  my Dad being in a nursing home with pneumonia & family visiting him and going for groceries before coming home.
I was able to scoot down the stairs & called my Dad & have him tell me how to breath to calm myself & pray for me as I waited for the ambulance. 
Also, before I went to the door I messaged my sister in CA on FB that I had called 911.
Anyway, the EKG was different, so my new electrophysiologist in another city wanted me moved there. 
Meanwhile my family had gotten home to find me not there, but they saw the phone & oximeter near the front door and found out from the family member at the nursing home where I had gone locally, so that they were with me before being transported to the other city.  One of them went with me in the ambulance.

There is a lot more to share, but in the end they did a pericardial window surgery to drain fluid and biopsy on the outside of my heart. 
I am glad that I had listened to a message Darren Wiebe gave on Psalm 23 about the Shepherd going a shepherd leads with his voice and sheep can follow in the dark.  I was humming & singing a couple of songs...especially the one Darren sang that I knew James Phillipps was supposed to sing on Sunday (my sister actually tried to have me hear it over the phone in the hospital...didn't hear much).  I don't know all of the lyrics, but it was still a comfort.
 O Thou in Whose Presence

It was so hard to endure, and I didn't feel safe about coming home though I wanted to.
It's like being without a safety net except the Lord (I know it all depends on Him).
I am so very easily stressed & weak.  I don't know if the surgery has done any good, but I've been having plenty of tachycardia.  The doctors wanted to test for Brugada syndrome, but insurance doesn't cover it.  $25,000 is too much.  I'm disabled.  So, the test was cancelled. 
I have an infection and had other issues come up. 
My Dad & I came home the same day (June 3rd).

Thank you to the Christians praying.  Please continue to pray. 
Many of my online friends mean a lot to me...some of you especially are dear to me even if conversation online has been limited.

Sorry, I don't feel like fully proofreading today, so if there are mistakes, please forgive me.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Las Buenas Noticias

Amigo, Dios es santo. Hay un Dios en el cielo que te ha creado a ti y a mí; Él es la autoridad sobre nosotros. Él es perfectamente santo. En Él está la Luz y no hay tiniebla alguna (1 Juan 1:5). Y el problema con eso es que, si queremos tener comunión con Dios, tenemos que ser luz y no tiniebla alguna. Somos pecadores. Todos hemos roto su ley. Todos hemos mentido, robado, todos hemos mirado con lujuria, todos hemos estado enojados con nuestros hermanos en nuestro corazón. Ninguno de nosotros alcanza el glorioso estándar de perfección que Dios requiere (Rom. 3:23). Y no hay nada que podamos hacer sobre esto. Ni la cantidad de obras, ni la magnitud de nuestra contrición, ni cuán mal nos sintamos, ni cuántas veces hayamos asistido a la iglesia, ni cuántas veces leamos la Biblia, ni cuánto evangelismo hayamos hecho nos podrá ganar el perdón de nuestros pecados y la justicia que Dios requiere (Tito 3:5; cf. Isa. 64:6).

Pero Dios es misericordioso y Él nos ama y, como a sus criaturas, Él quiere demostrar su gloria en nosotros rescatándonos. Así que Él envió a su Hijo —Dios en la carne, el Señor Jesucristo— a nacer como un pequeño bebé indefenso (Juan 1:14; 3:16; Col. 2:9). El Dios del universo, Sustentador del universo, Él mismo fue sustentado en el vientre de una joven hebrea, ¡y sostenía al mundo por la palabra de su poder (Heb. 1:3) mientras era sostenido por los nutrientes del cuerpo de su madre! ¡Inefable! Y con gran humildad, Él creció con los crecientes dolores de la vida en un mundo caído a pesar de que Él mismo nunca tuvo pecado —enteramente sin pecado (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26). Y Él vivió una vida perfectamente justa. Cuando tú y yo hemos fallado en vivir ante Dios —cuando hemos fallado en nuestro pensar, hablar y actuar, y hemos sido destituidos de la gloria de Dios— Cristo nunca falló. Ni siquiera en su pensamiento. Él amó a Dios, su Padre, perfectamente. Él siempre caminó en perfecta justicia. Él vivió la vida que hemos sido ordenados a vivir, que yo fui ordenado a vivir, que nosotros fallamos en vivir. Él vivió la vida perfecta de la cual Dios es digno.

Y no sólo vivió Él por nosotros; Él murió por nosotros. Él fue a la cruz. Nuestro pecado demandaba la muerte. Nuestro pecado demandaba el castigo eterno. Nuestro pecado demandaba la ira —la justa ira ejercida sobre nosotros por la eternidad (Rom. 6:23). Pero por el valor infinito de la persona de Cristo, Él estuvo en la cruz. Y en esa cruz, Dios ejerció sobre Él toda la furia de su propio enojo (Rom. 3:24–26; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gál. 3:10–14) que yo merecía justamente y que tú merecías justamente y que tú vas a experimentar si no te apartas del pecado y no confías en este Mesías. Cristo nació, vivió, murió y resucitó (1 Cor. 15:3–4). Y Él se levantó de la tumba luego de haber muerto demostrando su victoria sobre el pecado y la muerte.

Ahora Dios promete que, si te apartas del pecado, si repudias todo lo que eres y todo lo que fuiste y todo lo que amas, si te apartas de una vida de seguir el pecado —y si repudias no sólo tus malas obras sino también tus buenas obras, si te apartas de tratar de ganar tu salvación por todas las buenas obras que quizás quisieras hacer como persona moral— si te apartas de todo esto (Hch. 17:30–31) y confías solamente en Cristo para justicia (Fil. 3:7–8; cf. Rom. 3:28; 10:4), Dios promete que te va a perdonar. Él habría de tratar a Cristo en la cruz como si Cristo hubiera vivido tu vida. Y Él habría de tratarte, legal y justamente, como si tú hubieras vivido la vida perfecta y justa de Cristo (2 Cor 5:21). Y tú puedes ser salvo para conocer al Dios que te creó para que lo amaras y gozaras de Él. Puedes tener plenitud de gozo, los deleites eternos que están a la diestra del Padre en el cielo (Sal. 16:11), y comenzar aun ahora porque la vida eterna es conocer a Dios (Juan 17:3).

Amigo, ¿te arrepentirás? ¿Te apartarás de tu pecado y confiarás en este Salvador perfecto para que sea tu beneficio ante Dios, pague por tus pecados y te provea justicia?

English Text Used by the Permission of Mike Riccardi & Translated by Kevin.  
The original video and text are HERE.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Conferencia de español, Struggling with Doubt, & Choosing Companions

Conferencia de español
There is a conference coming up later this year that is for Spanish speakers.
Los Angeles - 27 y 28 de septiembre

Struggling with Doubt
True believers can go through times where they doubt their salvation.
The following blog article is helpful on this issue.
Doubt and Assurance

Run with the Righteous!
 Who your friends are has a great influence on who you are.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Marriage, Morality, & Singleness for the Christian

God created the first marriage (Adam & Eve).

God defines marriage (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-7).

Marriage reflects Christ's relationship and union with believers / the church (1 Corinthians 6:15-17 & Ephesians 5:22-32).

Adultery is to be taken seriously (Deuteronomy 22:22)

Believers are to abstain from and flee from immorality 
(1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:18-19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; Genesis 39:12).

The desire for an immoral relationship is covetous and idolatrous (Exodus 20:17; Matthew 5:28; Job 31:1; Genesis 19:5-7; Colossians 3:5).

Renewing the mind is what Christians should be doing which means we should be careful about what enters our minds (Romans 12:2; Psalm 119:11; Proverbs 4:23).

Immorality is fleshly and to be repented of  (Galatians 5:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21).

Putting to death the deeds of the flesh is part of living by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). 

A married man & woman shouldn't deprive the other of intimacy (1 Corinthians 7:1-6).

Christians are not to have lust or intimacy with the same gender regardless of the world's equating it with marriage.  It is not marriage as defined by God, but it is actually a judgment & a sin to be repented of and fled from (Romans 1:25-27; Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Incest & Bestiality are also outside of  God's design, and are condemned in Scripture (Deuteronomy 27:21-22; Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 2:15; Leviticus 18:23).

Singleness is nothing to be ashamed of, but if a desire for intimacy is there, then it is not wrong for a never married person or widowed individual to marry (1 Corinthians 7).
This does NOT allow for lust for intimacy not defined in Scripture as marriage (same-sex desires & lust should be repented of and fled from - not contemplated and accepted as okay).

So, I see from Scripture that marriage was meant to be between one man and one woman, that marriage reflects the union of Christ with believers (in a spiritual sense), that immorality is to be fled from and repented of, that married couples should be intimate with each other (exclusively), that homosexuality (and the desire for it) is sinful (not to be practiced by believers), and that all other forms of physically intimate relationships are not a part of God's plan for believers.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Cessationism, the NAR, Bethel Church, & IHOP

John MacArthur has been blogging on the Master's University site lately, and the recent article on cessationism gives a history of how the charismatics / Pentecostals have redefined the gifts to support their position.
Strange Fire Redux - Part 2 by John MacArthur 

New Apostolic Reformation Adherents Reject the Sufficiency of Scripture
47 minutes into a program I watched recently, the topic of the NAR (which includes Bethel Church in Redding, CA and IHOP) came up. 
The topic concludes around 1 hour and 19 minutes in.
It explains how the NAR has a form of ecumenism and a wrong view of Jesus which leads to accepting other things that don't line up with Scripture.
Watch out for those who hold experience over Scriptural truth.
The NAR & Bethel Church (Podcast Version)

The IHOP You Should Avoid

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Thoughts on Reading

In doing a book cover challenge on social media (sharing covers of books a person loves), I've looked at our library 2 or 3 times and brought more piles of books from it to be read again in the future.
That's the hazard of trying to choose books to share!
I haven't even finished my previous stack!
There are a lot of books I have read over and over during my lifetime, and then there are some I've read only once (or am still in the middle of reading or have quit reading in some cases).

I grew up reading fiction mostly for my entertainment, but I've increased my nonfiction repertoire in recent times (which usually takes me more thinking and time) .
Some of that reading was so I could share books with others (it's good that way too), but some I've actually (gasp!) chosen to read for my own edification.

Reading the Bible is something every Christian should be doing unless they want to starve spiritually.
Other books don't have that kind of value.
Reading other books doesn't make a person a spiritual or literary giant, although some kinds of reading can be of some benefit.
Some of my online friends read things that make my reading selections look pathetic, but that's okay.
Reading shouldn't be a matter of pride.
I did consider in the challenge whether the books might either be helpful or at least worth recommending without clarifications.
Sadly, even most "Christian" fiction books are not great in their Theology - even if they are entertaining.

I'm going to share a couple of other books I took pictures of ... one nonfiction that I'm pretty sure I read once many years ago when I was young (more unusual) and a fiction book that I only read once a few years ago.
It was a less stressful type...more of a human interest type.  


Friday, April 12, 2019

God Is Our Refuge

Christian, are you in need of encouragement?
Here is a message that reminds us to look to God alone.
Finding Stability in an Unstable World • Message given by Darren Wiebe

This is a stressful time for me, and reminders of God's dependability and calming music with good lyrics are helpful.
Here are two songs I've heard in recent times that came into my mind this week.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Unplanned (the Movie) & How to Avoid Some Bad Films

You often don't have to watch a movie to know there's a problem.
You just have to know how to do some online research or have discerning friends.
For example, the movie Unplanned just came out.
The R rating is a no-no automatically for me (they give that rating for a reason), but even if it weren't for that there are other red flags.

I know of some review sites that may not have the greatest of discernment in everything, but a person can  look to see if they list bad language in a movie (there are probably 7 or more bad words in Unplanned listed on one of the sites - these sites often can miss something).
You can also check to see whether there is immorality or immodesty in a given movie that they caught (which usually means the immodesty can be really bad when they notice it -  since they don't have the same standards I do), etc.

Here are some sites that aren't that spiritually discerning - just a little helpful when looking for the types of things I mentioned:

For the movie Unplanned, it was brought to my attention that Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church, Redding, CA is in it.  
That is a HUGE double triple no-no.  
Bethel Church is a cult that brings people from all over the world in to be deceived.  
The movie is about a Catholic.  Roman Catholics also have another gospel, so that's an interesting alliance...and means that there would not be any real Gospel in the movie.

Plus, I saw a couple of other reviews.
I wouldn't have bothered to watch the movie if I were these guys (but I'm not), and I would recommend avoiding that particular movie to everyone else.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday Medley: Reparations Addressed, Advice to Christian Singles, & the Deity of Jesus

It has been some time since I shared something with you. 
Sometimes it's like there are a lot of little fires of stressful situations, and this blog takes a back seat.
Right now my brain is in a fog, but I can at least share a few of the things that I have listened to and learned from recently. 

Addressing Reparations
Some people are calling for reparations based on slavery in America in the past.
The following is a fairly long but worthwhile podcast addressing the issue:
Slavery Reparations • Just Thinking Podcast

Singles, Listen Up!
This week I was listening to a chapel from The Master's University which encouraged young single women to pursue Biblical qualities that will help them fulfill their role in a marriage (should they be so blessed). 
I never chose or desired to stay single myself, but that doesn't mean that I didn't get anything out of this!   God's plans don't always include the things we expect.
The only point I would add is that I also heard this week that we aren't to make disciples of ourselves but of Christ.
Chris Mueller's Biblically - based advice to young women & men.

The Deity of Jesus
Last week I heard Nathan Busenitz pointing out how the New Testament quoted from the Old Testament and applied things that talked about YHWH (the LORD) to Jesus.
It is amazing how God works it out that some things I hear during the week can be useful in online conversations.  This fact was one of them.
This came from another chapel of TMU.
Nathan Busenitz explains how Scripture points to the Deity of Christ.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Shepherds' Conference 2019 Highlights

The Shepherds' Conference is over for this year, and I enjoyed learning of some of my friends meeting each other as well as my being able to stream sessions.
I will try to remember to announce for you when they have all of them available online.
They should be available by clicking HERE sometime in the future.
I knew the church had been taking down messages from Facebook on Sundays to put up later elsewhere, so I knew that the conference messages might not stay up on FB.
UPDATE:  You can find the the messages from the conference HERE.

Here are some of the things I shared on social media during the conference week - plus a comment about the Q & A:

"Humility is the virtue that produces faithfulness." - John MacArthur

Free yourself from distractions.  Pursue corporate learning.  Ask good questions.  
This was from hearing Paul Twiss.

Lack of holiness is the chief disqualification in pastoral ministry.  
This was from hearing S. Ferguson.

The true heart of a pastor is a heart that loves people, that cares for people, that longs to see people conformed to the image of Christ.
This was from hearing Austin Duncan.

We're all disciples. The question is of whom?
This from hearing Mark Dever.

Vindication is coming. Suffering is not over.  Persecution is not over, because not all have heard.  Share in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God.  
This was from hearing Voddie Baucham.

Then there was the Q & A.  Phil asked an opening question and then asked about the social justice issue.
I believe it was the right thing to do, but things got very intense.  
It seems that some have not been happy with John for saying that he would fight error but not his friends, but he did make a statement on the subject that I think they must not have seen as being as strong as I felt it was.   
I wish that I had been been able to get more of what he said typed out. 
The responses were not exactly as some of us would have hoped for, and John finally stepped in and gave Sinclair a chance to describe the state of things in the U.K. 
I do believe that patience and prayer (and hopefully continued communication) is what people should be doing right now with the people that we might be concerned about on the "social justice" drift.  
I do support the Statement on Social Justice which has some newer articles explaining it online right now.
Sadly, some people are quick to give up on people who may not stand up as strongly as we would desire.  This ought not be so.   
Not all Biblical correction is to be done with stinging rebukes and immediate shunning - treating people as unbelievers (though some of us may want to show great caution).

Back to sharing highlights from the conference:

“The husband is the head of the wife. He is the leader of the home and bears complete responsibility for the home before God.”
Marriage does not exist for self-fulfillment.
The command for men to love their wives isn't conditioned on whether they are obedient to Christ or not.
This was from hearing Tom Pennington.

It's not great talents God uses, so much as a great likeness to Christ. - S. Ferguson

Very often how you worship determines who you worship. - L. Duncan

Listen well to the critic. Give your critic the benefit of the doubt...unless you have solid grounds to know otherwise.
When someone criticizes you falsely, thank God that they don't know the truth about bad you really are.
"It's difficult to stay bitter with a a critic that you are genuinely praying for."  - J.Beeke
This was from hearing Joel Beeke.

The associate pastor & senior pastor are equal in their value but different in their role.
"Hold up the hands of your senior pastor!"  -MM
Michael Mahoney about associate pastors.

You cannot avoid conflict and be faithful in ministry.
The default response to our opponents should be gentleness.
Work hard to guard your own teaching from error.... Instruction is a better way to deal with error rather than taunting or insults.
This was from hearing Phil Johnson.

"The safest place in the world is in the will of God, but the 'safe' place may not be God's will."
This was from hearing H.B. Charles.

Making disciples begins with conversion... with faithful evangelism.
The death of Christ was effectual. Jesus died for all that the Father gave to Him...for the sheep... He did it for me.
The Christ who justified His bride will not fail to sanctify His bride.
This was from hearing Mike Riccardi.  If you haven't heard him before, this one was a good demonstration of how Theology and evangelism go together.

Saturate yourself in the Scripture.  Bathe in the Bible.  
The commandments, teaching, understanding will protect you.  
Moral compromise begins when you neglect the Word of God...when you fail to memorize it.
This is a sample from hearing Harry Walls warning that anybody can fall.

There's no way you can survive a half of a century of ministry if you can't forgive.
You confront them with truth, but you have to love people.... I'm more concerned about me than I am about somebody else's issue with me.
"We have a culture. It's called the Kingdom of God." - John MacArthur
This was from hearing John MacArthur answering questions from Phil Johnson.

"Every passage of Scripture has Theology in it."
If all you do is instruct the mind, you're not a preacher. You're a lecturer.
It doesn't take much of a man to be a preacher. It just takes all that he is.
Who you are is more important than where you serve.
This was from hearing Steve Lawson.

Only those who meet all of the qualifications will run & win. 
Those who hold tightly to their liberties will not win.... 
Selfish, indulgent freedom lovers won't win.  Neither will grace abusers...
Idolatry, immorality, presumption, and complaining...these are the kinds of sins that will leave you a corpse in the wilderness...disqualified.

Don't ever overestimate your spiritual strength.
You can be faithful, because God is faithful.
You will never be disqualified and be able to blame Him.
This was from hearing John MacArthur.  It was a good word of warning to the pastors and other church leaders at the conference.