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Archive for October, 2013

Stuck

Ever felt stuck?
Just not going anywhere? Nothing seemed to work to get loose and get you going again?

Would you believe the Bible talks about being stuck?
1 Samuel 26:7 KJV
[7] So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.

Saul was secure enough to have the spear nearby but useless. His “enemy” David got to it before he could have retrieved it for protection and only David’s choice of being a “man after God’s own heart” kept him from slaying this king who had been looking up and down for David to take his life.

Psalm 119:31 KJV
[31] I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord , put me not to shame.

David said these words. Whether he was thinking of the time he spared Saul’s life or not we don’t know. But David made it clear he was stuck on the Word of God and had no intention of letting go. God delivered David from Saul and made David king in Saul’s place. Sticking to God’s word paid off for David.

Acts 27:41 KJV
[41] And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

The ship getting stuck was part of God’s plan to show how He could take care of a Man of God who was trusting in Him. Paul the Apostle told the captain the ship would be lost before it ever sailed, and while the sun was shining and the winds were fair. “You stick to preaching, preacher. I’ll sail this ship” was the attitude of the response. Paul emerged from fasting and prayer on board the ship after the crew had lost all hope from many days of battling the tremendous storm, and said “…you should have listened to me”. He cheered them up by telling them the ship was indeed going to sink, but by the mercy of God, no one would die. When the ship stuck in the sands and was broken up on an island, some swam to land and others came on boards and broken pieces of the ship as the storm still raged, but as the Man of God said, they all survived.

So what are you stuck on? Carelessness that puts you and your family at risk? Or the Word of God that can keep you when the enemy comes to take you out? The storms are coming either way.

Diligently seeking God through his Word with a heart to obey what you find will keep you. David and Paul did much more than passively accept the Word as true. They made up their minds that “live, die, sink, or swim”, they were going all the way to the end standing on the Word. Everything you need to make it through what’s going on in your life and what’s coming next is in the Word.

Putrefying evil is multiplying itself about you daily. You can be sure it will wax worse and worse, and there will be consequences. The ship will be broken up, but if you cleave (stick) to the Truth, in the end you can rest assured as Moses told the faithful, who had survived God’s judgement on the wicked:

Deuteronomy 4:4 KJV
[4] But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.

Stick to the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and build your house on that.

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This time of year many people become fascinated with the concept of horror. Movie-goers inundate themselves with flicks depicting things they hope never happen, but enjoy imagining are real for the moment. Nice families decorate their yards with images they should pray never meet up with them in real life.

So what about horror? Is that a concept thought up by Hollywood, or did they just deem it profitable for luring suspects to the ticket office or rental box?

“Where’s that in the Bible?”

That phrase was used by an evangelist in our church a couple of years back, in describing how he’d prayed about something he felt God was showing him. It’s a good concept to keep in mind. If the Bible is our roadmap of life, then it should contain examples we can use to evaluate ideas we come across. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is no new thing under the sun.” So, where is horror in the Bible?

Abram in the presence of a Holy God

Gen 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

Abram (soon to be renamed Abraham) was about to have God Almighty give him a sign. God was revealing to Abram that he would give Abram the land he was sojourning in and multiply his children after him (he had not been able to have children at all at that point).  His descendents would go into captivity for four hundred years, be delivered, and come back to posses the land for their inheritance. After hearing God speak these things, Abram did what many humans have done in such an awesome moment, and asked God how would he know this would happen (we’d like to think hearing it from God’s mouth would be enough, but we’re still frail fleshly creatures).

God had him prepare a sacrifice, then put him in a deep sleep and this “horror of great darkness” came upon him. God spoke to him further, then had a smoking furnace and a flame pass between the parts of the sacrifice he’d prepared. Abram knew he was in the presence of the most powerful Being in the universe, who had the power to give him breath or to take it.  No other entity deserves such awe or reverence on our part.

The mighty King David

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. Psalm 55:5

Like the roar of a lion, intended to disable its prey with fear, David had seen the wickedness and heard of the disastrous acts of those who hated him, and he was overcome with horror: not only at their ungodliness, but also at their desire to take him down. In particular, this Psalm describes his dear friend, with whom he “took sweet counsel”, and “walked into the house of God in company.” (v. 14)  David didn’t see the betrayal coming, and felt a wound he wasn’t sure he’d recover from. Ever been there?

David, known as a “man after God’s own heart”, knew where to take his fear and complaint, and God worked for him.

Righteous David was appalled at the wicked and their boldness 

Psalm 119: 52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself. 53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. 54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

How are you doing with the growing wickedness around you? Passive? Afraid to say anything? Accepting? Buying into the mantra that anything less than cheering on the ungodly in their actions is intolerance?

The wicked — those choose to live contrary to God’s law, such as those who practice and advocate homosexuality, but also those who promote fornication, adultery and worship of all that is not holy — have multiplied themselves, and grow bolder every day.  The Supreme Court cannot determine my convictions.  What they legalize never will change what God commands or condemns.

I continue to be horrified by what I see and hear, from media groups who’ve suddenly begun to report on the unholy unions of same-sex couples as though they were equivalent to actual God-ordained marriages, to the lightness with which I see ordinary people regularly disdaining their own God-sanctioned marriage vows to pursue the whims of attraction that only lead to adultery if not curtailed. This isn’t popular speech these days, but make no mistake: it isn’t hate speech in the sense some would categorize that.  Righteousness is the only “out” from this world to life in the next.  Caring about someone’s eternity cannot include condoning evil. Condoning unrighteousness cannot convert it from sin to anything other than what it is.  My opinion of your behavior cannot undermine or enhance your chances of going to Heaven. God’s Law, as expressed in His Word, regarding your behavior will make all the difference in where you spend eternity.  I must stand on His Word, for I will be judged by it in the end as well.

The wicked in horror as the judgements of God fall upon them.

Ezekiel 7:18 They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.

You love a good “apocalypse” story? I challenge you to read over the whole of Ezekiel Chapter 7.  It is a picture of a time when all that we know and trust in this world unravels for those who continued to shun or simply to put off repentance.  One can run from voices that condemn ungodly behavior, and for the present time, the multitude can shout them down and make laws to oppose them and potentially shut them down. But there is one voice and power you will never be able to completely run away from.

Picture God as a nice “Grandpa in Heaven”? Think of a wrath-filled, holy, all-powerful God who gets His fill of wickedness, and responds as only He can do:

Ezekiel 7: 5-9

Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.

An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.

The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.

Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.

And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.

Unspeakable inescapable horror: A God gone from Savior to Judge. No mercy. No help from wealth of gold or silver. No escape. No hero. No deliverer.

Happy endings?

No there’s no happy ending then. But there could be one now. The choice on the ending is made before the judgement begins. What will you do?

Your horror story

If you feel the need to delve into some horror this end of October, hit your knees and pray over the only real reason to feel horror: an unrighteous soul in the hands of an angry God. Do it while He still has mercy to extend to whoever will repent. It doesn’t have to end for you the way it surely will for the unrighteous.

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Is the church today supposed to be like the church in the Book of Acts?

If not, when did it change?

Some things very obviously changed from the Old Testament to the New:

1) sacrifice for sin was completed by Jesus’ work on Calvary (Hebrews 10:1-18)
2) eating foods prohibited under the Law of Moses was clearly done away with by the Lord (Acts 10:15; 1 Tim. 4:3-5).

Other examples may exist of changes for the New Testament believers, but the point is that we know of these because they were clearly outlined in scripture: by commandment, by teaching, and by recorded practice of the Apostles and their converts.

Was the change for good?

Few argue that we should still be sacrificing animals for sin or abstaining from eating certain meats. God, through His word, changed the way humanity was to serve Him before the Cross to the way we are to serve Him since the Cross. The Cross is the Great Divide of history. Nothing since has been, or ever will be, the same.

But to compare the practice of the general church world today with that of the New Testament church, whose founding and practices are recorded in the Book of Acts of the Apostles, one would think there had been a second Great Divide.

The early church believers were baptized in the name of Jesus when they believed, as recorded in Acts 2, Acts 8, Acts 10 and Acts 19. But millions base their salvation and that of their family on the idea that somehow, somewhere, the adamant insistence of the Apostles on the Name of Jesus for baptism (see Acts 19:1-8) became obsolete.1

Secondly, the salvation experience of the New Testament church was always accomplished by believers receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Acts 2, 10, 19 clearly specify this and no scripture indicates any converts were saved without it. But the general church world today fights the idea that tongues are the required evidence that the Holy Ghost has come in, and that salvation is incomplete without it2..

More changes?

My question is this: where and when did that Gospel message — first preached by Peter at the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost — change? Can you point to the second Great Divide that changed history forever–again? And where in scripture are we prepared for this new method of salvation? Where are we told that we were to scrap the Acts 2:38 message and go with something else?

The Cross was foretold in virtually every book of the Old Testament. The outpouring of the Holy Ghost was prophesied in Joel and Isaiah. With all this preparation for the first Great Divide, where is the preparation for the change many are living under today, with a doctrine that says that is no longer necessary?

And what about a new doctrine? Some people obviously are following a new one because they are unwilling to do the first works they Apostles did. Where are there references in the Bible to the doctrine changing in the future?

You will find the scriptures giving many, many warnings about false teachers, false Christs, and a perverted Gospel3. If you do your research on church history (which is where you have to go to find anything about people baptizing in the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, because it didn’t  ever occur in the Bible), you will find this change made by a council of men in Nicea, over 300 years after Jesus came.

How safe is your plan?

SO, you can believe that was the plan of God, without any reservation: that this gospel of the kingdom, which Jesus said was to be preached unto all nations and then the end would come, was only in effect for the first 300 years, and then was summarily changed by a council of men? Although no prophecy in Scripture prepares us that there would be a later version of the gospel that was equally valid and more effective than the first, you’re comfortable believing that somehow what happened for the early church was for them only and that this change was the will of God and in his original Divine plan? You’re perfectly OK with staking eternity on that?

Want to know more?

If you would like to delve deeper into the scriptures and see for yourself what they say, a personal Bible study is a great way to connect. Leave a comment below or use the comment section of the site to request more information.

 

Why do many fight against the notion that the Name which is above every name — the Name of Jesus — must be called over converts being baptized? They base an entire doctrine on the one scripture that is meant to explain why the Name of Jesus is the one needed for baptism: Matthew 28:19-20 tells us that by baptizing in the Name of Jesus (as the Apostles did exclusively), we are baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. That’s exciting!

2 The scriptures in 1 Corinthians 14 — where Paul is explaining the role of speaking in tongues in a church service to Christians who obviously have spoken in tongues when they received the Holy Ghost – are mistaken by many to override his other statements saying: 1) Tongues are for a sign (14:22), 2) Forbid not to speak with tongues (14:39), and 3) I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all (14:18).  Jesus himself said tongues would be one of the signs which would follow them that believe (Mark 16:18) — he didn’t say, they would follow for a while or until a new doctrine came along.

Matthew 24:24, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Galatians 1:6-9 are only a few of the many references to false teachers, false apostles, false Christs, and a perverted Gospel.

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