VIDEO Contend Earnestly

BY HENRY M. MORRIS IV * |  JUNE 28, 2019

 

The little book of Jude is a short but powerful statement against those who dilute and warp the gospel of grace and salvation through Christ. Written nearly 2,000 years ago to address the teachings of ungodly men who had “crept in unnoticed” (Jude 1:4), it seemingly could have been written last week. The problems in Jude’s day are still very real in ours, and we would be wise to heed his warnings.

Jude had apparently intended to write a straightforward exposition of the doctrines “concerning our common salvation” (v. 3)—that is, the great salvation held in common by all believers who have been “called, sanctified…and preserved” (v. 1). But he was compelled instead, evidently by the Holy Spirit, to call for a vigorous defense of the faith in light of the arrival of apostate teachers. Jude “found it necessary” (v. 3), a strong word in the Greek that conveys the idea of urgent distress in view of a pending calamity. False teachers preaching and living out a counterfeit gospel were misleading those who needed to hear the true gospel, and it was imperative for Christians to quench such doctrinal error in all its forms.

Jude’s urging to “contend earnestly” (v. 3) doesn’t mean to be argumentative or contentious. Rather, the single Greek word epagonizomai, used only this once in the New Testament, literally means to “agonize over” or to “struggle with intense determination.” Like a warrior entrusted with a crucial task, our defending and contending for the faith is serious, urgent business. The adversaries are many, and like “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15), they will tear and rend the coming generations if we don’t defend the faith wherever it is under attack.

“The faith” (v. 3) we are to defend incorporates “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), the entire body of Christian truth recorded in His Word. This includes a rigorous defense of the doctrine of special and recent creation, which serves as the foundation for all doctrines in the metanarrative of Scripture. And because it’s so vitally important, it should come as no surprise this doctrine remains under the most intensive and persistent attack within our culture today.

Having been “once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3), God has entrusted the faith to us for guarding and safekeeping. This responsibility doesn’t fall only to specially trained theologians, apologists, and scientists, but to all “the saints” who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. We must keep it intact and undefiled, teaching and preaching all of it to the greatest extent possible to every generation until Christ returns.

The Institute for Creation Research has stood in defense of the faith, and for the truth of special creation in particular, for nearly 50 years. And by God’s grace and provision, our ministry will soon enter a new phase when the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opens this fall. We invite you to “contend earnestly” with us through your prayers and gifts of support to reach many more with the evidence that God’s Word is true and Jesus is coming again!

* Mr. Morris is Director of Operations at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris IV. 2019. Contend EarnestlyActs & Facts. 48 (7).

https://www.icr.org/article/contend-earnestly/

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Where is my peace?

6th Jul 2019

pexels-photo-1161268This week started off pretty horrendously. I was managing a little stress after a disagreement with someone, the kind of stress which usually I can manage quite well, but, combined with what I believed to be a friend disrespecting me with careless words, throw in a couple of bickering kids, a house that is upside down, and a washing pile that looks like it belongs to old mother Hubbard, an unexpected bill and an overwhelming urge to run away from home at thirty-eight.  And that’s only the first week of the summer. I was feeling completely overwhelmed by not really an awful lot.  A flick through social media seemed enough to tip me over the edge. Seeing that perfect family holiday, another perfect relationship, a mum who has just crafted something beautiful with her well-behaved children while sitting peacefully around the table, a family much bigger than mine that has a super tidy house. Why, oh why is my life such a shambles? Why am I so crap at parenting? Why can’t I manage my home like that? The questions mount up.

So I have hurt, anger, comparison, inadequacy, stress all piling up in a big heap on my shoulders. And this presented itself as verbal diarrhea when I took (yip that gross) swipe at a friend in the most ungodly fashion, practically biting their face off over a very unimportant matter (sorry DB & thank you for your grace), followed by a whole lot of tears, a stop at the garage for an extra large bar of chocolate and home to sulk in my room. Well because I’m six and that’s what you do when you’re six. Please, if nothing else, please let me know I’m not alone here! We all have these little mishaps, yeah???

I did the only thing that was left to do in my sorry state, which probably should have been my first move but a killer headache and sleep in had left me rushing out the door like a maniac. I came home, went to my room, grabbed my notebook and Bible and lay on my bed and spent some quiet time with God. I lay there and talked to God about all the trouble on my heart. Immediately, and with the added help of two paracetamol, my throbbing headache and aching heart started to ease.

In Philippines, it tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

My Bible’s footnotes say prayer and peace are closely connected. The one who entrusts cares to Christ instead of fretting over them will experience the peace of God to guard him from nagging anxiety.

So often we try to create our own peace with the quick fixes, the chocolate or the Netflix marathon, or the other activities that help us switch off from our stressful circumstances, when the Bible tells us that we can find peace through simply spending time in prayer. So when we feel the need to unplug from the world, that probably means what we really need is to disconnect with the world and connect with God. From there we will find our peace.

It’s not that my situation changed. I still had that unsettling disagreement to sort out. My kids were still squabbling, my house was still a bit of a mess. The magic fairy hadn’t turned up to pay the bills and do the laundry. All these things still felt bigger than me. But I know my God is bigger than even my biggest problem.

But rather than running away from my stress I need to chose to run to God with my stress.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Psalms 46:1 NLT

I looked up the meaning of refuge and the definition says the state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty. That doesn’t mean I get to escape from everything, that just means I get to rest from it while strength to continue I get from the Lord. So often I try to depend on myself for that strength; I try to do it all on my own and leave God out, but this verse reminds me to go to God and he is my refuge and MY STRENGTH.

While I’m finding my rest and strength with God then I’m reminded that all these things that are causing my strife are all manageable. Because God has given me everything I need to deal with these situations and, from him, I can get wisdom guidance and help.

Spurgeon, the absolute legend, said this:

“If indeed the Lord is our refuge and strength, we are entitled to seek after a spirit that will bear us above the dreads of common men. Not everyone can sing the psalm of peace amid commotion and clarity. We must belong to the believing company, we must have the Lord as our God, and we must learn the art of prevailing in prayer.”

But I guess in these situations in life we can all be wise to reduce the build-up of these stressful situations. We have to be willing to help ourselves and, as appealing as it may be, I can’t just take to my bed with a giant whole nut bar and hope that everything is better by the time I get up again. I need to find time to spend with God, like proper intentional time carved out every day, and for me this needs to be a discipline that I will not waver on, even if it means saying no to other things or maybe it means going to bed an hour earlier and not sitting scrolling through social media. But actually setting my phone down and pulling out my Bible, like the real paper version, not the electronic version, reading scripture and talking to God.

I also need to wise up and be a better steward of my money. Get wise and budget for unexpected bills. Plan a holiday allowance, stop impulse buying, save for a rainy day and then I wouldn’t have the unexpected bill stress

Battles for me, I guess I need to chose when to fight battles and with whom. I realised a while ago that I actually have a choice to be offended or not. I will tell my boys when they so often come telling tales of what this one said or whatever and I will ask them if it’s true. Usually, they will answer no. So I will say, then it doesn’t matter (mama needs to practice what she preaches). Choosing not to allow other people’s poor choice of words or bad manners to offend you is a great decision and, in turn, that can cut down on any unpleasant, heated discussion because, well, it probably won’t even affect you what they say because you know the truth.

AND FINALLY

The biggest for me! Don’t fall into the comparison trap. I can just picture the devil, pitchfork in hand, giving even the most secure Christians the poke over the edge into the hellfire of comparison, and social media is his fuel to the fire. See all that stuff on social media, that’s the highlight. However, even knowing that doesn’t seem to stop us. And I do it too. I put the best version of me on display for all to see. It’s not that I pretend that my life is all peachy perfect but I’m not going to post a makeup free selfie of my freshly squeezed face sitting in amongst all the clutter of my home. Noooooo I’m not. But stupidly, I will look at others’ lives through their hi-light reel and feel so inadequate. So this is where I need to be careful about how much of what I see on social media I allow to influence my life. Sometimes that’s gonna look like a media fast or social media free days to guard against that.

So today I want to encourage you to ask yourself if my peace is lost. what do I need to give up?

is it that busy schedule that needs to change?

is it the novel needs set down and the Bible picked up?

does the FB/Insta app need deleting off your phone?

Do you need to put some boundaries in place with that friend overstepping the mark?

Do you need to let go of pride and ask for help?

where is my peace?

The Jonas Brothers, “The Bachelor,” and Our Culture’s Rejection of Sexual Purity

Perhaps the culture’s aversion to the Christian sexual ethic is actually a rejection of its source.
GABRIELLA SIEFERT

The Jonas Brothers, “The Bachelor,” and Our Culture’s Rejection of Sexual Purity

Women across the country are celebrating the news: the Jonas Brothers are back together. Their latest album—which came out on June 7th—was preceded by the release of the trio’s Amazon documentary, “Chasing Happiness.” The film tells the story of the band’s ascent to stardom as they quickly went from playing in malls and at school assemblies to packing the house at Madison Square Gardern.

The documentary captures a moving testimony. Viewers witness Nick, Joe, and Kevin experience a dynamic range of highs and lows as they relive their rise to fame and explore its impact on their lives as men today.

At a particularly vulnerable moment, the three open up about consequences born on their careers due to the impact of some rings they wore on their fingers in the early days.

Purity rings. The Jonas Brothers wore purity rings.

A symbol of sexual abstinence in Christian communities, most associate purity rings with a person’s decision to save sex for marriage.

But from the moment these three clean-cut pastor’s kids stepped on their first Disney stage, it was clear the media could not wait to pounce.

As Nick later came to realize, the rings quickly became “a defining factor of who [they] were as a band.” The brothers, from an early age, were well aware of the mockery being made of them across the country.

Russell Brand, as quoted in “Chasing Happiness” once publicly referred to the group as “God’s favorite virgins.” On her show “Chelsea Lately,” Chelsea Handler joked about the boys’ need for a six-bedroom home asking:, “Why do three virgins need six bedrooms?”

As if that wasn’t enough for three teenage boys to stomach, the makers of “South Park” later dedicated an entire episode to the notion that the Jonas Brothers were somehow using Christianity and its association with sexual purity to sell music to kids.

Fast forward a decade later, and national media attitudes towards sexual abstinence haven’t changed much. Colton Underwood, ABC’s most recent “Bachelor,” also became the butt of many a joke after opening up about his own virginity. The network—especially the female contestants—couldn’t resist any opportunities to make digs on Colton’s virgin status. It got so bad that former “Bachelor” star Astrid Loch even argued, “If I had $1 for every time Colton’s virginity was mentioned I wouldn’t have to do ads.”

Problems with purity

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that the media—from the early Jonas days and onward—seems to have taken real issue with the notion of sexual purity.

For Christians compelled by a biblical sexual ethic—that is, believers who strive for pure hearts, minds, and bodies but trust in God’s grace on the (many) occasions when things go wrong—there’s a lot to unpack here.

Some of us have already felt this tension in our own personal lives. We’ve noticed the ways friends, co-workers, and even family members look at us with wide, troubled eyes when they catch wind of our commitment to honor God with our bodies. We may not have had our romantic lives spread across the front pages of CosmopolitanPeople, and the like, but we know what it’s like to be questioned, teased, or mocked as a result of our sexual inexperience.

And for many, this has been a hurtful experience. Being misunderstood always is.

But many of us would still like to know the truth: What is really at the heart of our culture’s rejection of sexual purity?

There seem to be several ways to answer this question; realistically, there’s more than one contributor at the crux of any one person’s objection.

Many reject the notion that one’s innate desires could ever be wrong in the first place. Saying “no” to the body’s whims and wishes might look to some like an attempt to go against nature; hence, they prefer to explore rather than “silence” a longing for sex.

Others find this whole ‘innocence’ routine completely unattractive. Sexual inexperience, through this lens, isn’t something to value but something to quickly get past. Nick Jonas himself in several interviews spoke of his life after sex claiming, “Now I’m happy, I’m a man, and I do what men do.”

Real men (and women, even) by this standard aren’t waiting around to be old enough, or in love enough, or married enough to have sex. They’re doing it outside of the realm of Scripture’s teachings because of a secular culture that threatens to shame them should they say no.

But perhaps there’s another angle here. In all the commentary directed towards Underwood, the Jonas Brothers, and others like them who have at one point or another confessed virginity, there appears to be a common thread.

The attacks weren’t friendly. In many cases, they were actually quite personal—almost as if Russell, Chelsea, and others like them harbored grievances against something more than just a handful of teen heartthrobs.

It seems that perhaps our culture is rejecting the notion of sexual purity because they’ve rejected its source: the church itself.

People have rejected the church and Scripture’s teachings for many reasons. Some find it fanciful. Others think it’s wise but perhaps not entirely true. Many more still reject it because they’ve rejected organized religion altogether.

But then, there are also those who’ve been hurt by the church—especially its teachings on purity—and feel judged or rejected for one reason or another. These individuals especially deserve our care and empathy.

Regardless of any one person’s reasoning, it is clear that our culture as a whole isn’t on board with Biblical sexuality and will not be for the foreseeable future. We cannot prevent being exposed to people’s jokes or veiled criticisms here and there—but, we can hope to create for ourselves a better framework for engaging with our culture on this topic.

Being a stranger

It seems that one of the most powerful innate desire we humans have is for belonging. No one—neither a kid on the playground nor a ground adult in a work environment—wants to feel like they’re out on the fringe.

Many believers feel this way too and have for centuries. We live in a world that’s rejecting something (many things, in fact) that we hold dear and it’s hard feeling at home here amidst this growing tension.

But perhaps our discomfort only grows when we try to create harmony between church and culture where there isn’t any.

The truth is: God’s will for human sexuality is uncomfortable. It is inconvenient. And it most certainly isn’t what our culture will favor at the present moment or in the future.

For believers caught in the in-between, some thoughts from the Apostle Paul: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Our minds won’t be renewed by heeding the advice of Hollywood or its followers on matters of sexuality. As a matter of fact, feel free to tune all that out. Instead, be at peace knowing that cultural engagement on this topic (and many others) was never meant to be comfy or easy. We were never supposed to feel affirmed by this world for the choices we make with our bodies.

When we come to terms with this, we will, in the words of Russell Moore, “hardly be ‘normal ’” but, then again, “we should have never tried to be.”

Gabriella Siefert serves as an Editorial Assistant for The Exchange. She is a recent graduate of Wheaton College where she studied Political Science, Spanish, and Biblical and Theological Studies. Outside of her work as a writer and communicator, Gabriella enjoys volunteering with Juvenile Justice Ministry.

 

Original here

My Most Reliable Ministry Tool: Keeping My Mouth Shut

In a world of noise, people need us to listen with God’s ears.
CHRIS NYE

My Most Reliable Ministry Tool: Keeping My Mouth Shut

I was only 21 years old when a family asked if they could meet with me to discuss how their marital difficulties were affecting their teenage daughter and son. At the time, I had “pastor” in my title, but I wasn’t yet married and certainly didn’t have any children.

As I read the email, I wondered why they contacted me. I was part of a large staff that included people with titles such as “care pastor.” Surely others were more suited for a job like this. Yet they had emailed me. What wisdom could I possibly bring to such a situation? What would I say? How could I help?

Lending an Ear

When I feel like I have nothing to bring to these moments, I remember my ears. They are, without question, the most valuable asset in pastoral ministry. I cannot tell you how many times I walk away from counseling sessions or visiting someone without having said much at all, yet feeling like I have given them the attention their problem deserves. So often what people need is to be heard with great effort.

This is what I decided to do when that couple finally came to the church to meet with me. As they explained their situation, all I had were my ears. I gave them my full attention, I asked them questions to clarify, and I sought to truly understand their situation.

A moment from the meeting sticks with me to this day. As the husband was sharing their situation, he said, “I guess now that I’m talking about it, I’m realizing how much I’m at fault.” He looked at his wife with tears in his eyes. “I’m so sorry,” he said. I hadn’t said a word.

When I meet with people, I sometimes wonder if I’ll be able to give them my mind by providing a great, theological answer. Or I worry I won’t be able to give them my heart by articulating deep empathy. These can be difficult parts of me to bring to the table. But my ears are always available, even though I often forget how valuable they are.

Pastoral counseling is dynamic, and each meeting is unique. Many meetings require me to speak with great conviction. Some meetings require me to speak a lot. But I’ve never regretted listening and I often regret speaking.

Our world is crowded with attention-grabbers. Everything in your phone is working to monopolize your eyes and ears. Our work demands our attention. Our families seem to never get enough of it. In a world of noise, listening—true, active, humble listening—is the powerful ministry of the Father in which we get to participate.

God’s Focused Attention

We know that God hears our prayers—at least, we say we know this—but have you ever considered what it means that he listens? Think about your friends who you would describe as particularly good listeners. People hear you all day long, but there’s a kind of presence a good friend gives you that cannot be replicated easily.

They sit with their eyes focused on you, their posture is active, and they’re not checking their phone or darting their eyes across the room as you speak. To assure you they are picking up everything you say, they nod and sometimes repeat your phrasing or mimic your emotions. Their face changes, their head tilts, and they laugh before you can. They’re right there with you. As you think through these traits, you might be thinking about how rare it is to find a good listener.

In a world of noise, listening—true, active, humble listening—is the powerful ministry of the Father in which we get to participate.

God, the almighty creator, is a tremendous listener: “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (Ps. 116:1–2, ESV, emphases mine).

“We are surrounded by noise,” wrote Eugene Peterson in Reversed Thunder. “The world is a mob in which everyone is talking at once and no one is willing or able to listen. But God listens. He not only speaks to us, he listens to us. His listening to us is an even greater marvel than his speaking to us. … Our feelings are taken seriously. … We acquire dignity. We never know how well we think or speak until we find someone who listens to us.”

Unsure of what we want from God, our prayers are often more rambling than refined. We stumble to put together words. We murmur in the dark and try to thread together the scattered thoughts from our day. Meanwhile, God is listening. He is attentive. He reacts.

Upon the first sin in the garden, God did not blast heavenly rage at the human beings. Rather, as a good listener, he asked questions: “Where are you? … What have you done?” (Gen. 3:9, 13). God is the one who, when the people of Israel “groaned because of their slavery” and “cried out for help,” took the time to listen: “God heard their groaning” (Ex. 2:23–25). After God inquired in the garden, Adam and Eve were exiled; after hearing Israel’s groans in captivity, the Lord began his rescue. Both the acts of banishment and redemption started with God’s posture of listening.

How does it change your prayer life to know that God not only hears your prayer but listens to you? How might it change your ministry?

You might have the same response as the psalmist: “Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (Ps. 116:2, ESV). This word inclined can also be translated “bent down.” It brings to mind a mother getting eye-to-eye with a child or a father bending on one knee. God is directing his gaze toward us, inclining his ear. He is not preoccupied nor is he busy. God has never found himself without time. He will never be distracted. God’s great power is often expressed in his rich attentiveness to the entirety of creation. When we know God is not simply tolerating our prayers but engaging with them and responding at his discretion, our attention will focus. We will, in turn, say with confidence, “The Lord has heard my plea” (Ps. 6:9, ESV).

Remarkably, pastors and spiritual leaders have the opportunity to image the listening God to people: We get to “incline” our ear to them and “hear their cry.” We get to show them the full attention God is already giving them, which just may bring them healing.

A Unique Kind of Ear

Sometimes it’s healthy for us pastors to think of ourselves as just like other people. But in other situations, it’s equally important to remember how people see us differently than they see everyone else. I loved the innocence of young students I would pastor when I worked in youth ministry: One student called me “the Jesus guy.” People often place us in a unique category.

Because of this, we have the potential for great good and great evil. Pastors can be dangerous; as a mentor told me a long ago, “In ministry, we are messing with peoples’ lives.”

Nevertheless, through our strange and unique position, we have a rare opportunity. If we listen before we speak and give people our undistracted attention, we give them something other listeners cannot. As much as I’d like to think, I’m just a friend listening, that’s not the way many people see me. When someone’s pastor listens to them, they feel God listening in too. When a pastor does not listen, talks over them, or over-explains their feelings, they sense God might do the same.

I’ve been a non-denominational pastor for over a decade. Because I do not wear vestments and people rarely call me “Pastor Chris,” I can forget the power I hold: the power for tremendous grace and tremendous harm. If pastors can use this power like God does by inclining our ears, we can participate in a radical ministry of healing.

Our dignity is often restored by a mere human listening to us; how much more so if we have God’s heavenly ear bent toward us? As a pastor, I get to see firsthand the healing work of listening, and moreover, I can join in that work with the Spirit’s help and power.

Chris Nye is a pastor, writer, and sometimes professor living in Silicon Valley with his wife, Allison. His latest book is Less of More: Pursuing Spiritual Abundance in a World of Never Enough.

 

Original here

Designers refuse to be at conference if Christian is there

Organizers cave to ultimatum to disinvite speaker

 

Bible11

The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts makes a big deal about inclusion, with a pages-long statement concerning its “passionate conversations” about ethnicity, gender, race, ability, disability and age.

But its policy of inclusion apparently goes only so far.

That became clear after AIGA declared it would not participate in a design conference unless a Christian speaker was excluded.

Fox News reported the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of AIGA refused to partner with the Circles Conference, a three-day event for graphics and user experience designers, if David Roark was on the speakers roster.

Roark is the communications director for The Village Church, a Texas megachurch.

He was disinvited from the conference by Circles because of the demand from AIGA, the report said.

AIGA claimed the church has “discriminatory policies and practices towards (sic) women and the LGBTQ+ community.”

AIGA said in a statement it would not tolerate The Village Church because of its beliefs.

AIGA claimed it would be a “misallocation of our membership resources” to participate in any event that included the church.

Roark responded on Twitter that he has no hard feelings.

“The last thing that I would want to do is cause a problem or be a distraction.”

He said that “to end division and pursue unity in our world, we must be willing to listen well, enter into dialogue and understand that we can show love, honor and dignity to one another while still disagreeing.”

“I want the creative community to be a place where individuals of all backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyle can learn from one another, regardless of differences, not a place where we shut each other out,” Roark said.

Commenters on the site pointed out that LGBT activists now are discriminating against Christians and their beliefs even when the subject at hand isn’t faith or issues such as homosexuality and marriage.

“Sounds to me as if the conference is inclusive of everyone except Bible believing Christians,” said one.

Added another: “So the ‘inclusive’ company wants to EXCLUDE Mr. Roark … Got it.”

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/designers-refuse-to-be-at-conference-if-christian-is-there/

Devil’s Lane

June 28, 2019 by jccast

The east boundary of the place where we live has two fences side-by-side about twenty feet apart, running the length of the property. When I asked about it, I found there was an error in the original survey that was corrected when the place was bought. This is quite common since a more accurate way of surveying is now used, but the appearance of a narrow strip of land between neighbor’s fences has been a historical evidence of a problem, called in some areas, the Devil’s Lane.

My dad, just in recent years, told me of such a lane he knew about in his community when he was a boy. The neighbors could not agree on the line for their fence, so each man stepped back and built his own fence. This Devil’s Lane was a testimony to everyone that they couldn’t agree and public knowledge of this gave credit to the origin of the conflict to the devil. Each man refusing to give an inch for a life time made a sad commentary of disagreement, discord, and division.

We would like to say that we do not have this fault today, where a relationship problem has become public, but it has been a human problem from the beginning, and still is. Paul addressed the issue in letters to Corinth, Rome, and Galatia. In the letter to the Philippians he pleaded with two women by name to deal with the problem of disharmony. “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1-2). He told them to “stand firm in the Lord.” They were to put aside their personal position and determine where the Lord stood. “Now stand firm.” We need to apply this, not stand firm on Baptist tradition, or stand firm with my group, or stand firm for what I want. It’s amazing how the Lord’s name tends to bring a different way of looking at things when He is the main subject of the issue. Then Paul addressed them separately, “I urge Euodia, and I urge Syntyche.” He was probably saying that there was fault on both sides and that they were to find common ground and learn to live in harmony. To harmonize means two people singing different notes, but the notes must be agreeably related. Each person is to consider his own position in relation to the Lord and in relation to each other. In our study of Experiencing God, Blackaby states, “You cannot be in fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus, and not walk in godly fellowship with one another.” There is no doubt about this being the teaching of the Scripture. Even though we believe this, it sometimes becomes necessary to get a mediator to see how it could possibly work for us. Paul called on a brother in the church, “a loyal yoke fellow” to “help these women.”

These women were important to the church and had shared in the gospel with Paul. They were important as testimonies of God’s grace, but now their conflict was hurting the testimony of the church. It needed resolution. Their dispute was public knowledge.

Something must be done for everyone could see that they had each staked their fence line and had built a Devil’s Lane.

 

[Retired pastor, Allen Elston, has graciously given me permission to reprint a collection of inspiring newsletter articles he authored from 1994-1996 (like this one). I thank him for his generosity.]

 

Original here

Boldness

July 5, 2019

Proverbs 28:1- The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion

What does it mean to be bold in our faith? Boldness might be viewed as aggressive, speaking out about Jesus everywhere and to anyone, calling out people’s sin or speaking truth without love.

Boldness is a theme throughout the people of God in the Bible and takes various forms across different situations. Take a look at a few examples:

• Nehemiah who was a cupbearer and went before his king to ask for favor in rebuilding Jerusalem
• Moses went before Pharaoh to ask for the release of an entire people group who were the backbone of construction and labor of Egypt
• Daniel opposed the law of the land stating that he could not pray to his God, knowing full well the punishment of being thrown in a den of lions (which God rescued him from)
• Stephen was bold in the face of his aggressors, he did not back down but gave them a wonderful synopsis of the Torah and history of God’s people leading up to Jesus. The result was his stoning.
• Elijah, facing death, went before 450 prophets of Baal to test whose God was real. The result was fire coming from heaven and the execution of all the false prophets.
• David went ill-equipped before a giant, and won, because the giant cursed David’s God.

These are just a few of the many examples in the Bible of men and women who exhibited boldness and faced overwhelming odds, some certain death, but why? Proverbs 28:1 talks about how the righteous are as bold as lions. The Hebrew word for bold here is batach meaning “confidence, trusting, i.e., pertaining to placing reliance or belief in a person or object.”

Boldness, as we are called to as Christians, is placing our reliance and trust in Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Any consequences that “man” can do to us are irrelevant because we have an eternal life awaiting us in heaven. The same word for boldness in Proverbs is used to portray this trust in Psalm 112:7-8:

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting (batach) in the Lord.”

Boldness is also used interchangeably with confidence. Hebrews 10:35-36 says:

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Confidence, like boldness, is not about being confident in who we are, but in WHOM we serve. We can only have confidence in God if we know who God is and have a relationship with Him. This relationship can only be established if we read the Word of God and commune with Him. This is the same way we can understand the “will of God”. We cannot have perfect confidence in our own plans or abilities, they will fail us. God will never fail us. The boldness we have once we understand God’s plans for our lives comes in knowing God is on our side. When we walk in His will, He will be with us every step of the way. This is very different from making our plans and asking God to bless them!

If we don’t have a clear direction for our life, we can still have confidence in the God we serve. We are called to walk in obedience to the Bible even if we are confused on the specific direction we need to take. The greatest commandment we are given is when Jesus says

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37

Everything we do stems from living out these two commandments, if we love the Lord, we will see his heart in all we do and we will trust him with boldness. If love those around us, it shows others the boldness and confidence we have in Jesus, planting the seeds for their salvation.

Our boldness is also displayed in how we approach God, thanks to the work done for us on the cross (Hebrews 10:19-22). We can come before the throne of grace and ask for forgiveness without needing a sacrifice.

Boldness can also be misplaced if we trust in the wrong thing. 2 Peter 2:10 discusses sinners who are “bold and arrogant”, their trust is in themselves, there is not a foundation built of who they are trusting in. When people are bold for themselves and their selfish pursuits, they leave behind a wake of destruction.

Discerning Reflection: In what ways have I not trusted in God or been confident in Him? How can grow in my knowledge and relationship with Jesus? In what ways do I or do I not portray the greatest commandment?

Prayer: Lord help me come boldly before your throne so that I can grow in my relationship and confidence in you. Help me see your will for my life and be a light to others who see that I trust you with everything. Amen.

Tim Ferrara
Discerning Dad
www.discerning-dad.com

Note: This was written in collaboration with Authorytees http://www.authorytees.com based on their mission statement of “Bold Faith”

Check out the shirt “Bold as Lions” available on Authorytees.com and Discerning Dad’s store

 

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