Search This Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Those Who Groan Over Evil

The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”
But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare.
“Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.”
So they started with the elders who were before the temple.
Ezekiel 9:4-6 NASB

That was how God's judgment was carried out in the OT even on the nation that had received so much blessing from Him (yet turned to other gods/abominations).

As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, "Alas, Lord GOD!  Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?"
Ezekiel 9:8 NASB

(2 Peter 2:4-10 goes along with this kind of judgment and mercy...Lot was tormented by the sin in his time.)

Do we sigh & groan over sin?  Are we tormented by it, or do we just accept it? 
True Christians should not be comfortable with sin (in our own lives or the world).
What about the entertainment that we watch?  Have we lost a horror for sin?

God hates sin & judges the sinner.
If we understand that God hates sin & sinners, then we can understand God's love and mercy better.  Christ went to the cross to die for those who deserve only His just wrath... for those chosen before they did good or bad.  It wasn't because of any goodness in us.
I was hearing Steve Lawson today, and he talked about how he could understand God's hatred of Esau, but it is more difficult to understand His love / mercy for Jacob.
You can watch that HERE.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Oklahoma Baptists - Responding to the News

Today I'm sharing my responses to a couple of news stories that have a bit of a connection.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez recently opined that young people could legitimately question bringing children into this world due to fear of climate change, etc.
You can see the news article HERE.

The following are my thoughts I shared with someone in response to that story:

"It's so easy for someone like her who has been falsely brainwashed to say things like this without thinking through the implications of her faulty thinking.
Does she regret that her mother had her?  Does she want nobody to help support her in old age?
Does she want to be held responsible for babies being killed and suffering when they are most vulnerable just because she fears something bad happening later?
God is in control of the climate and there is no need to panic about that.
Rather she needs to know about God's judgment coming & her need for His mercy & redemption."

Here is my response to something else she recently said online, as I do believe our primary concern should be her eternal soul (as much as we might think her public views are way off base).

We should not be surprised at reasoning like hers in a world that has gone from accepting murdering babies in the womb to now starting to become more accepting of murdering babies outside the womb.
That aside from the unnecessary worry about the climate.

What about Christians though?

Recently I saw a story that the Oklahoma Baptist Convention was against a bill that would seek to abolish abortions in that state. 
You can read the story HERE.

That is much more horrifying than the world who does not claim to know the Lord who already hold life cheaply.
People have become so lulled into accepting the murder of some children that they would trade the possibility of standing up for all babies out of fear of incrementalism being removed.
This is shameful that they are afraid to take a real stand for all of the babies when they have an actual chance to do so.

How about you & me?

Are we willing to take a stand or risk supporting all of the little babies' lives when the opportunity comes?
I understand the thinking that people want to save some lives rather than none, but that doesn't excuse believers for not standing for all babies when the opportunity is right there before their eyes.
We should speak truth to the world rather than send a message that maybe it's not so wrong to kill some babies...that maybe we don't really fully believe that all babies matter.

Do we believe that abortion is absolutely wrong or don't we?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Not Forgotten

I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.
Psalm 31:12 NASB

Do you ever feel like that?
Sometimes I just let the tears flow, but then I have to keep enduring.
The only thing I can do is to keep going & look to the Lord.
If I look to my circumstances or think about the future (though thinking can even be difficult at times with the fog and tinnitus), I'm sunk.

Sometimes my mind tells me things that aren't wholly nobody cares outside of God & my family.
I know it isn't the case with some of you who have been kind to me.
Some of you have even let me know when you pray for me and my family. 
You don't know how much that means to me, even if I don't tell all of you everything that's going on.
I often feel isolated, discouraged, and even marginalized at times.
Feelings don't always tell us the truth, and so I have to tell myself that.

Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.
Psalm 31:24 NASB

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
Psalm 31:7 NASB

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”
Psalm 31:14 NASB

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
Psalm 25:16-18 NASB

God's care is what matters the most.  
He has not forgotten me or my family, so I must trust Him & His lovingkindness ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Songs of Comfort for Believers

When believers are going through dark trials, songs of comfort as well as Scripture and helpful sermons can bring some solace. 
Encouragement and the prayers of other believers as well as one's own are of great help.
It popped into my head today that sharing a list of songs that have encouraged me or other believers who are friends would be a great idea. 
In the future, I may do a separate post with sermons and other links that are edifying and encouraging.
We shall see.

Songs of Comfort & Encouragement

He Will Hold Me Fast (Ada Habershon / Matthew Merker)

Whate'ver My God Ordains Is Right  (Words by Words by Samuel Rodigast / Music by Jeff Bourque)

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken (Words by Henry Francis Lyte / Music written by Bill Moore)

The Dark Before the Dawn (by Andrew Peterson)

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul (Words by Anne Steel / Music Matt Merker)

Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor (Matt Boswell)

Still, My Soul Be Still (Words & Music: Keith & Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend)

O Thou, In Whose Presence (Words Joseph Swain / Music Freeman Lewis)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Can Believers Be Sinless?

Some people believe that people will be able to live sinlessly here on earth as Christ did.
True believers are positionally righteous, but we still have to battle the flesh here on earth. 
Believers are no longer slaves to sin, but we are not practically without sin here on earth.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
Colossians 3:3 NASB

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5 ESV

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 
For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25 NASB

Repentance & fruit will be evident as the Spirit works.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:8 -10 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

Christians have been sanctified and are being sanctified and will desire to obey. 
Believers are told in Scripture to walk by the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the flesh. 
As Christians, we are to do good deeds (but they are not the means - in part or in whole - of making us right positionally with God). 

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.
These things are good and profitable for men.
Titus 3:8 NASB

There are those who claim to be saved but do not have a living faith.   
Their lives demonstrate that they do not truly believe.
 A living faith will have fruit (James 2:26).

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 NASB

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 
The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:3-6 NASB

If there is no love for God at all (and I realize sometimes we as believers question our love for God due to seeing the remaining sin in our lives), & if there is no desire to submit to the Lord - then a person should examine themselves.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!  Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?
1 Corinthians 13:5 NASB

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21 NASB

There are believers who stray, and they are disciplined to bring them back.
God will not lose any of His true sheep, but we may suffer.

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20 NASB

Hebrews 12:6 NASB

What we do to obey cannot make us right before God or keep us saved.  
Only what Christ did can justify us before God.   
We are saved by His grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
It is His blood that cleanses us from our sin...not our deeds.  
Jesus is the only one who was sinless on earth as God.  He was the only acceptable propitiation for sin.  

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

To summarize:
There are no sinless believers.  We aren't justified by deeds in whole or in part.  Believers should be growing.  True faith will have some fruit.  If we disobey as believers, we will be disciplined.  

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
John 8:31 NASB

Monday, February 4, 2019

50 Years of John MacArthur - What Have You Learned?

John MacArthur will have been the pastor at Grace Community Church for 50 years on February 9th, and they will be celebrating it at the church on the 10th.
As many of you know, I went to Grace for awhile many years ago.
I learned a lot of Biblical truth from Pastor John then, and I continue to learn from him even from a distance.
I've learned that we should not compromise on the truth.
I'm so thankful for him.

I asked people to share one thing that they have learned from John MacArthur over the years, and here are their responses:

I learned the doctrines of Grace from his teaching 
- Miyoshi

I have learned the importance of not compromising on the truth of the gospel and of the Word, no matter the opposition from the world or even others who call themselves Christians but want to change what the Bible says.  
- Wendy Chandler

Proclaim the truth, then sleep well. 
- Eric Dodson (Pastor in TX)

His book, “Slave” had a huge impact on my understanding of the term. Especially as a child of God who prior to conversion was a slave of sin. 
- Richard Story

Picking one is so hard! He has impacted me more than any other teacher in my 10 years as a believer. What I appreciate about him is his precision with Doctrine, high view of Scripture, and tender & compassionate shepherd's heart toward believers. You can be correct, firm, & kind. 
- Jennifer Gallaway

Do not compromise in proclaiming the Word of God. Hold the Scripture in highest regard; it’s our ONLY infallible source of truth. 
- Sharon Devol

I'm not sure about what I've learned from him exactly, but one of the things I respect him for greatly is his boldness to speak the truth especially on a national or world platform with Larry King or Shapiro and not back down from difficult questions, but share the Gospel. 
- Rob McIver

I learned to see the gospel not only as message but also method (through Ashamed of the Gospel).
I mean he taught me the gospel was sufficient and the church didn't need man's pragmatic strategies.
- Jeff Wright (Pastor in TN)

I have learned what it looks like to faithfully exposit the Scriptures when it is "un-popular" to the evangelical world at large. 

- Joshua M.

I finished John's newest book and here is a quote a person made from it..Awesome book it needs to be read.  
"The Lord of the church will not fail to recognize sin in His church. Nor will he fail to deal with it." 
(Title: Christ's Call to Reform the Church: Timeless Demands From the Lord to His People
 by John MacArthur.)
-Kim Eriksen 

His commitment to study. We think we’ve really dug deeply in preparation after four or five hours and a couple of commentaries, and he’s done it for 50 years week in week out studying 40-50 hours using a couple of dozen commentaries. 
- Justin Bise

Probably two things I would say: 
1.) His book ashamed of the gospel taught me the importance and power of the gospel over and above gimmicks. 
2.) His resolve to stand for truth has been an encouraged and challenged me to do the same.
-Allen Nelson IV (Pastor in AR)

John is a great example for pastors to plant yourself in a congregation and stay there for as a long as God keeps you there. Longevity among one body is as important as your leadership abilities or speaking skills. Faithful to the scriptures, faithful for one congregation.
-Jayson York (Pastor in IL)

The consistent and unwavering message of God’s grace throughout scripture. This was most apparent to me when John preached through Revelation on Sunday nights in the 1990’s.
- Tami

Thank you to those who shared your comments!