Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Should Respect for Governmental Authority Be Ignored in Times Like These?

The short answer is "No."
I watched some of the "news" this morning.
The media continues to undermine Presidential authority and the respect that should be shown to authority (as Scripture teaches).
I also notice that they have all but abandoned concern for the health of people.
You don't see them complaining very much about the mass gatherings or the risk of COVID-19...only maybe a brief mention.

Breaking the law is not peaceful.  
Yes, that means that people breaking curfew are not doing God's will (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-17).
If they are asked to disperse and refuse, law enforcement is perfectly justified in dispersing them.
Meanwhile, people's businesses have been damaged or ruined, people injured, and even the name of protest. 
People have damaged monuments and police vehicles (which is something that costs the taxpayers money).

Can people not see the hypocrisy of those showing hate and doing damage to people and property? 

The police are recruited from the same sinful human race as everyone else, and those who protest them are not any less prone to sin. 
There are those in law enforcement who do their best every day.  
The main thing that is systemic is sin's presence in all of humankind.
The Bible teaches me to obey authorities.  It doesn't even say "just the ones who are nice."
It teaches us to love our neighbors.  It teaches love and prayer even for enemies.

America has the blessing of allowing people to address things in a lawful and peaceful way.
So, those who see bad things that they want to address can do it without breaking the laws or disrespecting authority.
Many countries do not have nearly as much freedom as we have.
The most common injustice in America that causes death is against babies in the womb.
Sadly, that has been made legal.
Some people seem to think they can be anarchists when they see something wrong, but this shouldn't be the case with Christians.

Have you ever hated or been angry with someone?
Matthew 5:21-22 shows that in God's sight anger can be as bad as murder.
Even righteous anger can quickly turn into unrighteous anger.
Have you ever lusted?
That is as bad as adultery in God's eyes.
God's justice always will prevail, but the whole human race is sinful regardless of color or ethnicity.
There is none righteous.
We are born a sinful race.  All of us.
We need forgiveness and mercy, and the only way to have that is through faith in Christ ... to have His perfect righteousness credited to our account.  He died to satisfy God's just wrath against the sins of all who put their trust in Him, and He rose again (Romans 4:25).
Please watch this ➨What is the Gospel message?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Doctrinal Danger & Lost Friendship

Since I used to endorse and share things from Tony Miano in years past, I believe it is right to share the following two videos.

I know I'm rather late saying anything about this on my blog, but I would encourage people who are familiar with Mike Reid or Tony to watch the interviews and strongly consider them.

I truly care about Tony Miano, his family, and the others in the church he is in (though we are no longer online friends).
I could not support his move to that church, and now, I see the red flags even more.

Sharing these is not about my personal hurt.
This is not about wanting to hurt others.
This is not about slander.
This is about researched information and testimony from different people.
My hope is that God will work in the hearts of people and that truth will prevail.
I care about people enough to share these things.

I have been removing posts related to Tony until such time as things turn around.
I cannot guarantee that I haven't missed some of them for those checking.
I hope that I will not lose friends, but I believe this is the right thing to do.

 Please hear what the doctrinal views and practices are of the church mentioned, and please consider the risks to people due to them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Those Who Love Me & Those Who Don't

I don't put a lot of credit to my dreams.  
Sometimes my dreams do reveal things that are fears or insecurities that I have. 
I had a dream this morning where I learned that someone was rejecting me for my lack of eloquence and interesting conversation.  
What with brain fog making thinking unclear and never having had any confidence in the skill of conversation making, it is easy to see why this kind of dream would disturb me.
I have less going on in my life than when I was young, and so the quantity of topics I have to share about even online is quite limited.
I realized it was only a dream, and I can't really read the minds of those who choose to not respond to me.

It made me think about how people actually do show partiality and reject others, and so I looked up some verses related to various kinds of partiality as addressed in Scripture.

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.
But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
James 2:8-9 NASB

James was warning about not holding our faith with an attitude of personal favoritism - giving an example of how someone might ignore a poor person and show favor to the rich.

Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
Acts 10:34-35 NASB

God saves people of all ethnicities and colors, and so the Gospel is to be proclaimed to everyone.
Unity in Christ also includes every believer without distinction.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matthew 5:44-46 NASB

Even when people reject us and are mean to us, those of us who are Christians should remember that we don't deserve God's mercy and grace.  We must remember that we were once enemies though chosen of God.  God even gives rain and food to those who do not receive His truth and trust in Him.
We are to love our enemies and pray for them.
In many cases, it is often God that people are objecting to the most.
They reject us as we represent Him.

Do I love only my friends and not others?  
Do I love those who do not show love back to me?
Do I forgive people who hurt me?  
Do I love those that I have little in common with outside of their being fellow Christians?  
Do I show love to my enemies?  
Do I love those who say things that make me angry?  
Do I love the lost who are blind to the truth and spew out evil or rude things?  
Do I pray for them?

I'd have to say that I'm not always consistent on this, and I certainly don't always react right immediately.  
I still have a long ways to go in sanctification.
Do you struggle with this?
Christians, please pray for me, and let me know if you would like prayer in this area (or any other).

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Adoption Deferred, American Puritans, & a Live-Streamed Hymn Sing on May 13, 2020

Hope Deferred 
I've been praying about a young girl's adoption for a long time now, and the article linked below filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge of the situation.
It is all of God's plan, but it has been difficult for the family.
COVID-19 Ruined OUR Adoption Plans - Peter LeDuc

The American Puritans
Nate Pickowicz has teamed up with Dustin Benge to write a new book about some of the New England Puritans.
I have not read this particular book, but I know that Nate is an excellent writer.
I've also seen Dustin Benge's presence on Twitter, and so I know he has good things to say as well.
The American Puritans (on Amazon)
The book is also available to order on the Reformation Heritage Books site HERE.

Hymn Sing 

Grace Bible Church of Bakersfield, California, has been having a time for singing hymns live-streaming online on Wedenesday nights for a few weeks.
I've been enjoying participating by singing at home, even though it starts at 10 PM where I live!
It begins at 7 PM Pacific time. 
If you are able to be online and to sing along, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Immigration from the Soviet Union - God's Faithfulness in Harrowing Times

Their parents were arrested as Christians in a communist country.
Christian literature was hidden under one of them as a baby (and discovered).
This is a really interesting account of how God brought Mark & Joe as children to the U.S. from Russia (Latvia) 30 years ago, and how it can relate to our own difficult situations.

Thinking Biblically with Mark and Joe Zhakevich
Mark and Joe Zhakevich, elders at our church and professors at The Master’s Seminary, reflect on God’s faithfulness, family, and immigrating to the United States.
Posted by Grace Community Church on Saturday, April 25, 2020

When I was young and went to Grace Community Church, letters were sent to encourage Christians in the Soviet Union.
I later met some others who came from Russia and were trying to minister to people still there.

Before glasnost and perestroika, I used to listen to the news in my youth and about how close war could be with the Soviet Union.
I also remember imagining as a young person about somehow being a missionary in Russia, but then young people often think they are braver than they really are or turn out to be as adults.

I found the story of these guys fascinating.
I'm sure it was frightening in reality for the adults, and yet, God was faithful!
That doesn't mean that God isn't faithful when people do get imprisoned or sick or in hardships.
The Lord is still the faithful Shepherd of His sheep.  He will be with us and help us.
I know I need to keep reminding myself of these things.

Friday, April 24, 2020

All Things for Good - During a Pandemic

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 NASB

Christians know this is true, but we don't always think about it when we go through trials or inconveniences in life.
Some people kindly responded to a question I posed online recently.

What is one way you have seen God using this time (of COVID-19) for good?

"He’s provided more time for reading and learning." - Miyoshi

"I’ve seen some unexpected people tuning into live-streamed sermons that were unexpected. SDG"
- Justin B.

"I know of several people that have become better stewards of what God gives. Things like not wasting food, being more careful about spending, spending more time with family, being thankful for those in their life and praying for one another." - Richard S.

"More intentional communication with others. Time. Growth in sanctification!" - Jeanine S.

"1- I've seen more people publicly asking for prayers all over the world, which makes us remember the needs outside our circle.
2-The isolation has served to bring to mind the real depth and effects of private sins."
- Marco S.

I have seen it make all of us long for the fellowship with other believers, and it has given us opportunity to spend more time in Bible study, reading good books. 
I have seen it for myself personally make me remember to pray more for many to come to Christ. 
I have seen opportunities for the gospel, and know of many who have relatives and friends who are more open to listening to the truth. - Wendy C.

Here is my response to my own question with additional thoughts:

From the things I have heard and observed, the Gospel has been proclaimed online a lot more through preaching, social media, and other online videos during this time.
God has used this, and He may be using it more than we know.
People have realized their mortality and have had more time to reflect on their relationship to God.
There have been more services, hymn sings, devotionals, and other videos put out by Biblical churches.
I hope that people will see how useful Gospel video tracts can be in the future!

Thanks again to the others who shared their observations.  
It's always good to remind ourselves of things to be thankful for!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Love More & Complain Less

It has really bothered me seeing people minimizing the danger of COVID-19 and ridiculing efforts to protect and save lives (and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed).

We still don't know everything about this virus.
Many people have gotten horribly sick (worse than the flu), many have been on ventilators, and many have died (and they aren't all in Heaven). 
Many more would have died if not for the early efforts that some people complain about. 
The family of the 5-year-old in Michigan are going to miss their daughter (in case people don't care about those who die who are older or have other health problems...which they should). 
If you know people who are elderly or have other health issues, do you quickly dismiss their health and their lives?
Most people (if not all) in my immediate family fit into the higher risk category.

A lot of people died in New York, but perhaps some aren't affected by that...if you don't live there. 
I've heard a guy in a live-stream talk about how he was shaking the whole bed being so horribly sick. 
Another lady (another Christian) prayed she would die, it was so awful, and those were cases where they stayed out of the hospital.
Another guy (and this is someone I was acquainted with in the past) was in a coma at a hospital on a ventilator for some time. 
I read about another guy whose organs nearly shut down. 
Then there are those who did not live...husbands, mothers, and others who will be missed by people.
Yes, those of us who belong to the Lord will go to be with the Lord, and God will be with us in our sickness. 

I'll admit that being horribly sick does frighten me.  
I already have a number physical problems.  
I don't like to feel crummy, but I already have feelings of unwellness often (and dizziness).

There are those who are blessed and have coronavirus mildly or are asymptomatic (though they may spread it to others), but a lot of people who get it do not consider it a picnic. 
Even churches have lost pastors. 
Those who have lost loved ones will not be impressed by bravado or mockery of those trying to make decisions to save lives. 

Christians should be willing to sacrifice for the health of others despite knowing that those in Christ who die will have joy and not suffer any more. 
We, of all people, should care about eternal souls, and we as Christians should be patient and good citizens.
If we complain all over social media about temporary rules, does that make us a better witness to the world?
This isn't about persecution for the most part.
Sure, some politicians will not always be consistent, but within their worldview many of them are doing their best.

Now, I realize some people are hurting financially, and that is why it is good to cautiously move toward opening things up when possible.
As Christians, we should pray for authorities to make wise decisions.
If you can help someone else in need, that is a great thing to do.

I realize I've vented a bit on here.  
I still care about those who disagree with me, and I know I need to be more patient with others.

I would like to copy what I saw on another blog for my next post (to be encouraging).
What is one way you have seen God using this time for good?
I would like to get responses to choose from.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Are You Ready for Death?

God is holy, and humans are by nature sinners. 
We deserve God's just wrath...spiritual & physical death and eternitiy in Hell.
That is what you are headed for when you die apart from Christ.
Is there any way for sinful man to be reconciled to a perfectly holy & righteous God? 
This is the Gospel:
God sent His Son, truly God and truly man, born of a virgin to live a sinless life perfectly obeying God's Law. 
He lived the life that you & I cannot. 
We fail every day multiple times a day in thought, word, and in our actions.
We cannot earn salvation. 
The Law only proved how sinful we are. 
But He wasn't. 
He willingly suffered a terrible death on a Roman cross. 
He shed His blood taking the punishment for the sins of His people. 
He absorbed the punishment of sins of everyone who would ever believe. 
He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and on the third day He arose from the dead! 
He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. 
The Spirit (God is Triune) was sent to indwell His children. 
You must come to God in repentant faith trusting in Christ's death for your sins. 
There is salvation in no one else. 
You are not a good person. 
You need Christ's perfect righteousness imputed to your account in order to be saved. 
Only He can save us from our sins.
Trust in Christ and in His righteousness, His death for your sins, and believe that God raised Him from the dead.  
He saves the guilty.  
Those who come to Him He will not cast out, and He will give eternal life.
If you die physically as a Christian, you will have eternal joy.
Please read the 66 books of Scripture.
You can visit my other site HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hope, New Bible Translation, Preacher Equipping, & a Cowper Song

Steadfast Hope

Steve Lawson has been doing daily devotionals (on weekdays) during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19. 
You can watch them LIVE at 6 AM Pacific / 8 AM Central / 9 AM Eastern / 2 PM BST, or you can watch the recorded videos later at the same place - HERE
They are also streaming it on Facebook (Steven J. Lawson or One Passion Ministries).

The Legacy Standard Bible

John MacArthur recently announced that there is work being done on a new Bible translation that should be even more accurate than the NASB.  You can hear what he said about it HERE.

Equipping Preachers

Another exciting thing I recently learned about is the MacArthur Center for Expository Preaching which is supposed to launch in October.
Go HERE for the YouTube channel.
Click HERE for the actual site where you can sign up for information.

Peace! Be Still!

Here is a song for your day:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Death Is Coming, but There Is Hope

People are dying.
I've seen reminders of that by just opening up and looking at social media today.
Not only are people dying of COVID-19, they die of lots of other causes that are unrelated.
Those are in addition to the thousands of children in the womb who die every day due to mothers and fathers and grandparents not wanting to care for them.  Their lives are snuffed intentionally with no effort to save them.
It's good to try to rescue older people.  They are valuable and loved.  If they are unsaved, there is still hope while they live that they may yet be saved by the Lord.
Death will come to each one of us, and none of us wants to suffer misery or loss.
There is no eternal hope for those who have not turned to the Lord and been forgiven of their sins.
For those who belong to the Lord, there is the expectant hope that we can have.
Though our faith may not always be strong, yet we can look to the Lord and remind ourselves of His love for His children.  He died for our sins, and our eternity is sure despite our wavering feelings.
Are you one of His children?
The Gospel is given in various languages on the following site/link:
The Gospel in Various Languages

It Is Well With My Soul (Twitter Version)

Here is another hymn that people on Twitter sang during this time of restrictions due to COVID-19.
It is wonderful to see the positive side of social media, and this song is a great reminder in this troubled time.


For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:53-56 ESV

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Twitter Hymn Sing During Quarantine

Some people on Twitter decided to do some hymn singing during this time of quarantine.
Different people contributed different lines of the hymn "How Great Thou Art" recently.
There were some people who didn't realize that certain lines had been done already, so this thread is slightly different from a version put on YouTube by someone else.

Click HERE for the First Segment of the Twitter Hymn Sing Thread.
Click "Show this thread" under the first video.

To see the end of the song, please click on the two last parts below.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Gospel Message for These Times, Comforting Music, & Calming Waves

We are not strong.  We are weak.  
Here is a Gospel video to share as people face the threat of COVID-19.

Here is an encouraging song for this season.

Sometimes you need to relax and take a break from the news and social media.
Looking at videos of God's creation (even if looped) can be very enjoyable!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 - Trusting God in Times of Trouble

Aisles are emptied of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Fears are high.
People are reacting to the news of the pandemic of COVID-19, and the U.S. President has declared a state of emergency.

Churches are having to make decisions (or have been given mandates by governing authorities) not to meet when they have more than a certain amount of people involved.  It isn't as though they are only targeting churches, because the same is true for any gathering.  This isn't a matter of taking the freedom of worship away, and even larger churches can have smaller Bible studies in homes (besides live-streams).
Lots of events have been cancelled.  Some schools are closing, and some are going to online classes.

We have been told that it is older people who are at highest risk as well, as those who have other health issues (heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders, etc.).
Meanwhile, this week I have had a virus...coughing and low-grade fever.
Sure, it makes me nervous.
It's likely some other virus that's been spreading locally (as I have not been out of the country and had little contact with people).  I'm not going out anywhere anyway.
Someone else in the house seems to be getting it as well.
I'll admit I don't like being sick or the extra difficulties it brings.
You can be a germ freak (like me) and still get sick.

It's good to follow precautions, but whether we get sick or when we get sick is ultimately in the hands of God despite our best efforts.
God is good, and He always does what is right.  We can trust Him for matter what.
These things might seem like platitudes, but it is true and can be wrongfully discarded for having heard these things so often.
I must keep reminding myself of what is true about God and what he has done.
I do tend to be fearful even though I don't want to be that way.
Reading Scripture and remembering verses is always a good idea.
I read in Psalm 77 today, and that Psalm is a prime example of how I should be.
That psalmist cried to God though he was discouraged, but he brought things to mind about God and what He had done.
This is very helpful.
Praying is also something I need to continue to do when I am afraid.
When I pray, I can also remember others.
It is so easy to be self-focused.

Those who are able-bodied can also take things to people's doors (if they know they are in need).
I read of a church offering to order groceries for older people to be delivered to their doors.
One thing I can do is try to be an encouragement...even from a distance (though my hands and wrist are aggravated from overuse).
My mind is not always sharp, so I am thankful I can look things up that I've shared with people in the past!

Here are some verses that I hope will encourage you today:

The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him.
Nahum 1:7

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 

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?
Luke 12:25

Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.
Psalm 54:4

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

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. 
Philippians 4:6-7

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

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

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

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

I've seen some videos of Italians singing during their quarantine.  
Wouldn't it be neat if Christians were singing?
It would be really great to be reminding others of our hope in the Lord and that we can still worship Him and trust Him.

Do you know God?  Do you know what will happen when you die?
Please watch this video:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Shepherds' Conference 2020 Wrap-Up & Coronavirus Map

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Map
I've been reading some about COVID-19 recently (symptoms, who is most likely to die from it, looking at maps of those infected, etc.).
People can have a (dry) cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
It is a different strain than other coronaviruses, so it is relatively new to the medical world.
Here was an earlier article on the demographics of it:
Who is getting sick? ....

There have been no cases (so far) of COVID-19 reported too close to where I live (though there are 4 elsewhere in the state).
UPDATE: There is 1 confirmed case in the broader region of where I live...
7 total cases in the state now.  That will probably increase, but I won't be updating every time!
Some people have gone overboard about it when they may be less at risk, and some people are too dismissive in my opinon.
Our household is one of those who does have people at higher risk for complications with illness, so I can't be too dismissive.
A few years ago I think it was, we weren't sure one of my parents was going to make it with flu complications affecting the person in very serious ways.

As Christians, we know God is sovereign, so even our best efforts are not the ultimate determining factor in what happens to us.

The following map shows current cases of the coronavirus, recoveries, and death statistics.

Shepherds' Conference Wrap-Up
The Master's Seminary shared the main session notes for the 2020 Shepherds' Conference on their website.  So, if you want to check those out, you can find them HERE.

If you want to watch the videos while they are on Facebook, you can find them HERE.

They should have the audio and video uploaded at some point on their official site (for 2020), so keep checking HERE for that.

I enjoyed live-streaming the conference, and I especially liked the photos that were shared by the people who kindly participated in my game of giving points to people who met each other there!
The conference music was beautiful, and the teaching was excellent!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Shepherds' Conference 2020, Tennessee Tornado, & Presidential Election

The Shepherds' Conference starts today (Wednesday), and it goes through Friday.
I'm excited!
I'm hoping John MacArthur will be well enough to speak.
You can see the schedule and watch on the official site:
Shepherds' Conference

Tornado in Tennessee
A couple of people have wondered if we were okay after the recent storms.  The tornado devastation was in middle Tennessee (a lot of it in Putnam County) in the broader Nashville vicinity.
We are a few hours away in northeast Tennessee where it was still very stormy, and there was a flood advisory in the vicinity for awhile that expired.
Several years ago there were some tornadoes in this area (especially an area that often gets high wind).  We were fine then too, but we did have a tornado warning and sheltered in the area of the house that we thought would be safer.
That being said, I've seen reports from the recent tornado event in the greater Nashville area that there are 24 or 25 people dead and 38 missing.  There are buildings damaged and demolished.
A church that is in a county affected (which I visited a few years ago) is Midway Baptist Church.
If people want to help with relief efforts, here is some information I received:

Presidential Election
There is not going to be a fantastic option for President in the general election, but the following site will give some clues on where candidates stand on certain issues.  One of the issues is abortion.
If you care about the lives of babies in the womb, please consider their views carefully.
On the Issues
One party fully supports taking the lives of babies.
That is the Democrat party.
Abortion is no better than Pharoah or Herod having babies put to death outside the womb.  Make no mistake.
God creates the human life in the womb, and murder is just as serious today as it was at the beginning of the world.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.

“As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Genesis 9:6 -7 NASB

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pastoral Authority Limitations, Critical Race Theory Explained, + Should Churches Use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

How Much Authority Does a Pastor Have?

Have you heard of or been to a church where the people seem to be micromanaged in a way that raises red flags?  
The following article is not exhaustive but helpful to explain the Scriptural pattern for pastors /elders.

What is Critical Race Theory, and why is it wrong?

If you are like me and struggle to remember and articulate things, having things available to review  in written form can be very beneficial.  
Not long ago someone asked me what CRT was, and I found myself fumbling to attempt to answer them (despite all I've heard before).
Eric Davis has a blog post which takes information from different sources and describes what Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality are (and their un-Biblical worldview).

Should Churches use Hillsong & Bethel Music?

I've watched a few newer videos in recent times which gave good reasons for avoiding using music from these sources. 
While an occasional song might have okay lyrics and your individual conscience might let you sing those privately, there are ramifications of churches singing their music. 
It can encourage people to look them up and get led to their false teaching, financially aid their dangerous teaching, etc.
Much of the lyrics also reflect the poor Theology and dangerous views of those places.

(I don't know the pastor here or what version or paraphrase he was using, but this was a thoughtful message to consider.)

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thoughts on God's Grace

Salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

Grace is unmerited favor.

I think Spurgeon might have described it something like this (which I borrowed from an old post that I did): 
The fountain of God's grace is like a heart pump sending blood through the blood vessel of faith to me (my soul) from God.

God's grace is not a commodity bestowed on us for things we do (the Catholics wrongly treat it like that).

His grace should also not be cheapened by believers as some have tried to do by seeming to think that they can sin all the more that grace may abound.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 
May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 NASB

It is God's grace that He saves sinners who are unworthy, and believers stand in His grace and grow in grace.
Grace is not a one time event in the life of those whom God has chosen to save.

Grace was realized through Jesus.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 
John 1:17 NASB

Believers stand in grace.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 
Romans 5:1-2 NASB

God's grace instructs believers to deny ungodliness.

instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 
Titus 2:12 NASB

Are you a Christian?
We cannot be justified by or kept by our works (Law or good deeds).
Nothing we do can make or keep ourselves right with God. 
We are sinful, and God is holy. 
That's why we need Christ as the substitute for us....who lived the perfect life & died taking the punished deserved for all who would ever believe (satisfying God's just wrath against our sin), and He also rose from the dead for the justification of life ---the validation that the sacrifice was accepted. 
All men everywhere are commanded to repent and believe the Gospel.
Those who belong to Him are His children and will have eternal life.  Those who do not believe are condemned and will be judged.  Hell is real.
We aren't promised tomorrow, and there will be no excuses.

Friday, January 31, 2020

What Does Christian Love Look Like?

John MacArthur gave some convicting messages on love at The Master's University this week.
I highly recommend them for other Christians to watch.

Part 1  
"Pursue Love."
"The loveless person is zero." 
- John MacArthur

Part 2  
"Love doesn't demand to be heard."
"Love doesn't insist on its rights."
"True love is always unselfish."
"Love never becomes exasperated with people. 
Love never loses its temper." 
- John MacArthur

Part 3
Loving the truth means hating error.  
Loving the truth means hating iniquity.... 
We should live a life marked by joy... 
Some Christians become so negative that they 'find the manure pile in every meadow.'
Love is slow to expose anything...and only does so when it is dangerous to the church. 
It should be exposed for love's sake...not resentment.
(This is from what I heard from John MacArthur.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kobe Bryant, U.S. Senate Trial, Q & A, Baby Names, & Discernment

A lot of news stories have been coming up that I'm not going to say a whole lot about.
It's not that I'm not paying attention, but I'm not stirred up enough to address all of them.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant's death in the helicopter in California (along with his daughter and the seven other people with them) reminds us that life can be shorter than we expect, and that people need to hear the Gospel while they are still here on earth.
As someone who liked the Lakers, I was familiar with Kobe's name.
I was more of a team fan than a personal fan, but it is still sad.
I saw other news recently about a 24 year old police officer killed, and so all of these deaths are so sad...especially if you learn they didn't belong to the Lord.

U. S. Senate Trial
From all I've seen President Donald Trump has not committed a prosecutable crime, but some are so angry at him that they are looking for any possible excuse to try to get him removed from office. 
The House manager Adam Schiff is the one who originally got into office through redistricting (which was the Democrats way of getting back at James Rogan who helped lead in the impeachment of now former President Bill Clinton - Clinton actually did commit a legally prosecutable offense). 
That's all I'll say about that at least for now.

I've saved up a few more things to share with you:

The Q & A You Likely Missed
The other week, we watched a very interesting Q & A that Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Church did on a Tuesday night.
Making decisions in political elections was just one of the things that he responded about.
Truth Community Church Q & A

Popular Names by Decade
The Social Security Administration has lists of the top 200 names used for boys and girls in the U.S.A. born in each decade. 
You can check and see if your name is among them!

Discernment: Spiritual Survival for a Church in Crisis
I saw that GTY was offering a booklet on discernment, so I searched on their site and found that I could read it there. 
I believe it would be a good resource for people to get and distribute. 
I have recently had an online conversation with someone that would likely claim to be a Christian yet supports abortion, doesn't believe the Gospel of Scripture, and the person doesn't believe in Hell.  There are a lot of people who don't treat Scriptural truth as their final authority.
I'd encourage people to read the booklet HERE.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Mix-up: Soleimani's Evil, Don't Be a Heart Follower, & a Seventh Day Adventism Exposé

I realize it's been awhile since I shared anything on here, and today I'm just going to share some things that I've read of late that stood out to me.

The Story You Might Have Missed
In recent times people are divided on Trump's decision to attack Quasem Soleimani.
This story highlights some of the awful things happened with this guy in power.
I Saw Qasem Soleimani’s Brand of Evil Firsthand — It’s Worse Than You Could Possibly Imagine

Don't Follow Your Heart
A lot of people encourage people to follow their heart or their dreams.  Some people will even teach you to listen for an inner voice (and even attribute it to God).  Our inner thoughts and feelings and what we imagine to be God's voice is often not from God or His Word.
Here is an article that I read this week.
Slogans That Don’t Save: “Follow Your Heart” by Owen Strachan

Is Seventh Day Adventism Christian?
I've run across a number of Seventh Day Adventists in the past, and I didn't know everything that they believed.  I did some research, and I realize that a lot of people probably don't know a lot about them.  I knew that I'd had doctors from the SDA who wanted to pray with me, and when I researched what they believe I decided to not go along with it anymore.
An Interview with Phil Johnson on Seventh Day Adventism