How Can We Come Close To God?

May 26, 2020 hephzibahgarden

Honestly speaking, the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 is surely a replica of our own lives; referring to the times we had gone away from Jesus, did our own will and lost everything we once had! This parable narrated by Jesus Himself is quite thought provoking and very much applicable, even till date! The story is about the return of the Lost Son to his dad, a boy who took all his wealth and went away to a far country. There he wasted his wealth with riotous living and became miserable; until one day he decided to COME BACK TO HIS DAD!! ❤️

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you… James‬ 4:8

Well, the verse itself specifies clearly that when we take that one step of Faith and draw nigh to God; He will come running to us like this dear dad! Let me take you to the 5 ways how we can draw close to God.

  • By the Blood of Jesus – But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Ephesians‬ ‭2:13‬. We have redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians‬ ‭1:20‬. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
  • By Him – Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Therefore all those who come to God by Him, He is able to save them to the uttermostLets therefore run this race patiently, looking into Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John‬ ‭14:6.
  • By faith of Him – Refers to the faith of the Son of God. We must NOT have little faith, nor worry, or fear, or doubt, or reason among ourselves seeing the circumstances that arise against us. Jesus overcame the world promised us that we can also overcome the world through Him. Let’s believe and press forward. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
  • Access by His Spirit – For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephesians 2:18. The Lord has poured His love into our hearts through the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27
  • By Hope – Hope on God, never puts a person to shame. All those who put their trust on God are made steadfast and immovable by Him. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Hebrews 7:19.

Be blessed 💕

 

Original here

VIDEO Responding To The Riots – Color, Communism, and Common Sense

BENHAM BROTHERS

This isn’t a rant. It’s just a few thoughts I (Jason) jotted down on Facebook this morning as I tried to make sense of the craziness I saw in the streets of America last night.

This also isn’t about how broken I felt for George Floyd and his family. I posted my thoughts on that the day after he died. I still can’t stop thinking about how he called for his momma moments before he passed. Gut-wrenching. So if you wanna un-friend me because I’m writing about the riots please be my guest. But read my last paragraph before you go.

My brain can’t handle all the big words and articulate arguments I see on TV, so I have to boil things down very simply before I can understand stuff.

What I saw in the streets last night was not just a clash between angry people and the police – it was a clash of worldviews. What I know from studying history is that the only way one worldview can overthrow another is for two things to happen:

1. History must be rewritten
2. Words must be redefined

Neither of these are good, but they are strategies used in effort to topple truth throughout the centuries.

Socrates said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.”

If he were alive today, his response to these riots would first require us to define some terms. So I’m gonna give this a stab.

Emotion is an impulse to act.
Anger is an emotion with a purpose.
Anger’s purpose is to see that justice is done.

Justice means “to make right.”

You cannot have justice without first defining what is “right.”
You can’t define what’s right w/out a basis for truth.

Today, we see people fighting for “justice” who have different definitions of what’s “right” because they don’t agree on the standard of truth.

One side says, “Truth is what I want it to be.”

The other side says, “Truth is defined by a higher power (God).”

Separating the two schools of thought is one very important word – ACCOUNTABILITY.

For those in the first camp, they’re accountable to themselves to help themselves….to whatever they want.

For those in the second camp, they’re accountable to God to help others.

Problem – so many people today were taught that truth is relative (there’s no real right or wrong). But when they live out this worldview on the streets they seek for justice by destroying things. This, in their minds, will make “right” what happened to George Floyd.

But for there to be true, lasting change – the kind of change we’d all like to see – we have to first agree on the standard of truth (God), let Him define for us what is right, and operate our lives by His power so we can control our emotions.

Then, when something evil happens – like what happened to George Floyd – our anger will cause us to RESPOND in love with a heart of compassion rather than REACT in hate with a heart of destruction. This compassion will move us to action so we can help the people who are being mistreated.

This was lived out in the 60’s when you saw the difference between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Both men were just as angry and emotional about the racial inequities in culture, but their responses were vastly different. Why? Because they had different standards of truth.

MLK held a Bible. MX held a Quran.

I’ll let you guess which one’s worldview was better. If you’re not sure, it’s the one who has streets all over the country and a Holiday named after him.

We can make things right. But it will require us to first do business with God. As Dr. Tony Evans posted, “This is a time for a national reset…based on a spiritual foundation influenced by a repentant, obedient, and unified church…Pray for peace. Pray for unity. Speak truth, in love, but still speak. Then, act. Together, we can effectuate positive change if we pursue it with wisdom, tenacity, and strength.”

Oh, and one more thing. For those who are going on an “unfriend” rampage, it’s time to move out of the 7th grade and jump onto a field where ideas can clash and hearts unite at the same time. If you’ve ever been married for longer than a year you’ll know this is entirely possible, but only when you control your emotions and operate out of….wait for it….a heart of love.👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨

Responding To The Riots


Color, Communism, and Common Sense by Manning Johnson


Manning Johnson Exposes Communism, Farewell Address 1959


Racism, Color, Communism, & Common Sense: 619-768-2945



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Two Brands of Bread- Seeing vs Believing

AUGUST 14, 2020 / MULYALE MUTISYA

During Passover, God instructed the Israelites to eat ‘bread made without yeast’ (Exodus 11:8). The Feast of Unleavened bread lasted seven days and ‘whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel’ (v19). In the same Chapter and in other subsequent Chapters, the Lord insists that they must eat bread without yeast, unleavened bread, as they observe the month of Abib- the month the Israelites made exodus out of Egypt. The Israelites, not fully knowing why they had to do this, did it anyway. As I also wonder why, the Lord reveals that He did not prohibit the Israelites to eat bread with yeast because of an allergic reaction, but as a symbolic revelation. No wonder the ordinance was to last generations to come. However, when Lord himself came down, all He did was talk of yeast.

In the third Parable Jesus gave according to the Gospel of Matthew, He talks of the mustard seed and the yeast. Jesus likens the Kingdom of heaven like ‘yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough’ (Matthew 13:33). One quality of yeast is that it ought to be given time until it works through the dough. In a yeastly manner, the Kingdom of God works the same way, in its due time. During the Passover which the Lord instructed to ‘Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover’ (Exodus 12:11), shows the Kingdom of God was not yet. God displayed His great miracle saying ‘I will make a distinction between my people and your (Pharaoh’s) people’ (Exodus 8:23). To the Israelites, this signified that the kingdom of Israel would be established, but God had a bigger picture in mind.

So when Jesus came talking about yeast and the Kingdom of God, it took aback the Jews who were avoiding yeast and anticipating their own kingdom. On one occasion when Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God, the chief priests and elders asked, ‘And who gave you this authority?’ (Matthew 21:23). Unlike the unleavened bread eaten in a time of miracles and wonders, the Kingdom of God seemed unpalatable for the Jews, because they could not see that the Kingdom of God was among them and that it was starting to work as in yeast through a dough. This was because they were spiritually blind and bound by the tradition of their forefathers in eating bread without yeast physically, and now took it further and did the same spiritually.

After Jesus had fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish, ‘the Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven’ (Mark 8:11). The Pharisees, like their forefathers who ‘were a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God’ (Psalms78:8) and ‘wilfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the desert?’ (v18-19). Even after God miraculously provided for them in the desert, ‘In spite of all this, they kept sinning; in spite of wonders, they did not believe’ (v32). In the same way, the Pharisees after seeing Jesus’s miracles, still did not believe of who He said He was and when they asked for another miracle, ’Jesus sighed deeply and said, ‘why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?’ (Mark 8:12).

Sometimes like the Pharisees, we ask God for a sign in order to believe in Him. In our ignorance we say, if God is real, why is there…why am I…why can’t He… why did He and so we continue to harden our hearts to receive the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. ‘Be careful, Jesus warned them (his disciples). ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod’ (v15). The disciples were clueless of what Jesus was talking about prompting Jesus to ask, ‘Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (v17-18).

‘And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’

‘Twelve’, they replied.

‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’

They answered, ‘Seven’

He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’

(v19-21)

Some, instead of partaking of the Bread of Life partake that of the Pharisees and wait for world peace or some other miraculous phenomenal before accepting to believe in God. However, the Kingdom of God is based on faith. In fact, to top the Word becoming flesh, the air we breathe and everything around us is a miracle. Paul writes, ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20).

We receive by faith through believing in Jesus, whom ‘though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Peter 1:8). No wonder the Israelites ate bread without yeast because the yeast had not yet been revealed to them and so they lacked faith which can only come through accepting the Bread of Life. Once we receive Jesus, we are saved by faith and the faith works in us the Kingdom of God like yeast works through all the dough. In the same way, like yeast working quietly in a dough, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength’ (Isaiah 30:15). Once we follow Christ, miracles, signs and wonders follow us and not the other way round- for Christ did not accompany miracles but miracles accompanied Christ. (Mark 16:20)

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2020/08/14/two-brands-of-bread-seeing-vs-believing/

Why Do I Need to Be Saved?

John Piper
Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Audio Transcript

On this podcast we frequently return to fundamental realities, essential truths, things most precious to us, like the glory of God and the cross of Jesus Christ. If you get these fundamentals right, everything else eventually falls into place. Get the fundamentals wrong, and nothing will fall exactly into place. Something will always be off.

In light of this, some of the most essential questions include these: Why, in the first place, do I need to be saved? Saved from whom? Saved from what? What is my problem? And how does God, and specifically Christ, address my problem? To explain, I love this following sermon excerpt from a 2009 message delivered at a Campus Crusade event in Minneapolis. There Pastor John expounded Romans 3:23–26, in which the apostle Paul says this:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

A glorious text of essential, must-know truth. Here’s Pastor John to explain it.

“Whom [referring to Christ] God put forward as a propitiation . . .” (Romans 3:25). Propitiation means a sacrifice that removes wrath. So, the wrath of God is absorbed by Christ when he dies in our place. Propitiation is the removal of the wrath of God off of us, though we deserve it.

“Condemnation happened at the cross. Whose? Mine. In whose flesh? Not mine.”

“Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood [his death], to be received by faith.” That’s how you receive a gift: faith is a receiving; it’s not a doing.

“This was to show God’s righteousness . . .” Oh, really? Really? This putting Christ forward “was to show [God’s] righteousness, because in his divine forbearance [patience] he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25–26).

I don’t think there’s a more important paragraph in the Bible than that right there. I mean, there may be some competing, but that’s just about as close to the center as you can get.

Cursed for Us

Take it apart for just a few minutes with me. God put Christ forward as a propitiation by his blood. Romans 8:3: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.”

Whose sin? Mine. Whose flesh? Christ’s. That’s an amazing statement. Condemnation happened at the cross. Whose? Mine. In whose flesh? Not mine. This is propitiationPropitiation is the drawing away of condemnation from me. How can this be? How can it go there, on Christ? It belongs here, on me.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” Whose curse? God’s curse. He’s the one who backs up the law. The law is his word. If there’s a curse in the law on me, it’s coming from God. And Jesus becomes my curse.

So all that to say yes to propitiation; don’t translate it some other way. Don’t use expiation, which simply means “removal of guilt.” Don’t translate it merely as living sacrifice or sacrificial offering. It’s the removal of God Almighty’s just, holy condemnation and wrath, which belongs to me.

Glory Is Gone

Why did he need to do it that way? Why did Christ need to die in order to placate God’s wrath?

“This was to show God’s righteousness.” So, Christ died; God put him forward to die. This was to show God’s righteousness. Why did he need to show his righteousness? That’s a pretty high price for a demonstration of righteousness. Why did he need to show his righteousness?

“Because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Well, why does passing over sin make it necessary to demonstrate righteousness? Now we’re ready to see verse 23 and the nature of sin: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like I want you to feel now about the connection between sin and the glory of God. “All have sinned and fall short.” Fall short is an old-fashioned translation. The literal meaning is “they lack,” “they’re without.” In what way are we without? Romans 1:23 says we have exchanged the glory of God for the glory of created things. So, we had it; it was our treasure. When Adam and Eve were created, it was our treasure: we loved God, we cherished God, we esteemed God, we respected God; we were in awe of God and worshiped God and praised God and glorified God. And then we traded God.

“In that very moment of upholding his glory, God made it possible to save sinners.”

You’ve all done it; you do it every day. We embrace other values, other treasures, other desires that are so much stronger in our hearts than God is. We traded him, and so we lack God’s glory. It’s not our treasure; we’ve just thrown it away. And sin is anything you do in that process. Anything that reflects that God is not your treasure is sin. So, all have sinned and lack, throw away, exchange, demean, belittle, trample the infinite value of the glory of God.

Guilty Go Free

Now, why does that call the righteousness of God into question when he passes over such sin? Because when God, as he does for all of his people, passes over — does not condemn — sinners who have trampled his glory and demean his glory every single day of our lives, it looks as though he thinks that’s no big deal: to trample the glory of God is no big deal.

It would be like a judge sitting at a bench who’s got a murderer and a rapist in front of him. He says, “We’ll just let it go. We’ll just pass over the murder and the rape this time; we’ll just pass over it.” And everybody in the courtroom would say, “No way! You can’t do that and sit on that bench and be a just judge and say you’re just going to pass over this thing.”

And so, God knows that he would be unrighteous, he would be wrong, unjust, if he treated his glory as though it were so worthless that he could just pass over the trampling of his glory in his people. And so he doesn’t just pass over it; he sends his Son into the world to demonstrate his righteousness.

You see, if you understand Romans 3:23–26, what happened at the cross was the loudest statement imaginable: I love my glory. And in that very moment of upholding his glory, God made it possible to save sinners: “so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Unthinkable for the Undeserving

So, in John 17, Jesus expresses this idea: “I want them to see me — I want them to see me risen, triumphant, glorious, all-satisfying in my glory, so that my glory will continue to be exalted forever, and their joy would be full” (see John 17:24).

And at the center is the cross, making that possible for sinners. As God says, “I put my Son forward to demonstrate my righteousness. My righteousness is my unwavering commitment, always and everywhere, to uphold the infinite worth of my glory. And if I am bent on saving sinners who have trampled my glory, which I most certainly am, I will not do it in any way that calls my love for my glory into question. I will do the absolutely unthinkable. I will put my Son on the gibbet, and he will be tortured, and he will bear my wrath to make plain: I don’t sweep God-belittling sins under the rug of the universe when I save sinners.”

VIDEO The War on Religion, War Against Christianity

Richard Land  Nov 07, 2019

The War on Religion

There is a coordinated and powerful assault on religion in America from modern secularists and progressives driven by the complete moral relativism that defines their worldviews. This sustained assault was recently described eloquently by Attorney General William Barr in a wonderful speech delivered at the Notre Dame Law School: “Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values. These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also drown out and silence opposing voices and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.”

One of the most destructive and comprehensive results of this massive assault on religion in America is that according to an August Wall Street Journal poll, only 30% of 18- to 30-year-old Americans listed religion or belief in God as very important, compared with 50% of Americans overall and two-thirds of those 55 and older. In other words, today’s generation of young people is the least religious generation that America has ever seen.

Ideas have consequences; bad ideas have bad consequences. The secularist attack on religion has hollowed out the faith of our nation, especially among the young. We must respond with a clarion defense of the Gospel of life in Jesus Christ.

The attorney general helped in this effort by starting his address to Notre Dame students by enunciating an eloquent defense of religious liberty—what my Baptist forefathers called “soul freedom.” He pointed out quite correctly that our founding fathers believed emphatically in religious freedom for many reasons, perhaps chiefly because they believed religion was indispensable in sustaining a new and unique free system of government articulated in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution. Our founding fathers called our Constitution “the great experiment.” Placing their trust in the American peoples’ self-restraint, doing the right thing because a higher power expected them to do so.

As Barr pointed out in his speech, “This is really what was meant by ‘self-government.’ It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.” As John Adams, our second president and a chief architect of the Constitution put it, “We have no government armed with the power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Without a religious people voluntarily obeying the law, our freedoms will wither into license and lawlessness and die and will in all probability be replaced by a far more restrictive and oppressive government presence in order to restore “order” over chaos.

As the British philosopher G. K. Chesterton observed in “What I Saw in America:”

“America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived.”

Back to Barr’s speech—the attorney general went on to say that “one of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunications. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake, social, educational and professional ostracism, and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

In other words, the new irreligion is terribly intolerant. The attorney general points out as well that as the social consequences of this moral relativism pile up, today “instead of addressing the underlying causes, we have made the State in the role of Alleviator of Bad Consequences,” calling “on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility. … The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection site. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as an ersatz husband for single mothers and an ersatz father to their children.”

Barr goes on to explain that Judeo Christian moral standards “are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.” As religion has come under unprecedented assault from secularists and progressives in America over the past half century, the results have been catastrophic. As Barr concluded, “The campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage and misery.” He then asked the progressives rhetorically, “Where’s the progress?”

The attorney general then pointed out that secular religion is very intolerant of any dissent and is weaponizing law and government to coerce people of traditional faith to violate their deeply held beliefs and consciences. He also points out that irreligion and secularists are forcing their values and their beliefs on people of traditional faith, seeking to coerce them under penalty of law. Mr. Barr then pledges to defend freedom of conscience as long as he is the attorney general of the United States.

Barr identifies and unmasks the unprecedented secularist onslaught against traditional religion in America and the dire consequences it has brought upon our society. The attorney general points out that as Christians, we need to promote renewal by making sure we are putting our spiritual beliefs into practice in our own lives and the lives of our families. “We understand that only by transforming ourselves can we transform the world beyond ourselves.” He closed by promising that as long as he was attorney general, the Department of Justice would vigorously defend religious freedom.

I, for one, am very grateful to God that he has raised up Attorney General Barr to defend freedom of conscience and religious liberty in time of great peril.

Predictably, the reaction to Bill Barr’s speech was swift, apoplectic and shrill. As my East Texas grandmother used to often say, “You throw a rock into a pack of dogs. It’s the one that yelps that got hit.” Well, the yelping was loud, frantic and immediate. A few examples: The infamously wrong Paul Krugman accused Bill Barr of “religious bigotry.” Richard Painter tweeted that Bill Barr sounded like Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister. Meanwhile, retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that Barr is “Torquemada in a business suit,” a reference to the Spanish Inquisition’s infamous grand inquisitor.

It sounded an awful lot like yelping to me. Thank God for Bill Barr.

(Dr. Richard Land is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and serves on President Donald Trump’s faith advisory board.)

https://townhall.com/columnists/richardland/2019/11/07/the-war-on-religion-n2556059


War Against Christianity


Yeast Yeast Yeast!

AUGUST 16, 2020 ~ HANNAH

For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15)

Yesterday I went to Wingstop to get some chicken wings, and my husband pointed out a picture on a wall of these yummy looking yeast rolls. “We must get this!” We ordered 2 of them, but for some reason the word “yeast” reminded me of unleavened bread in the bible. And today when I was reading through Exodus, I kept on seeing “yeast” EVERYWHERE! I was really surprised at how many times it was repeated in the scripture.

Why so many times? And why such significance?

Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. (Exodus 12:17)

God called this the Festival of Unleavened bread. I bet the main thing they ate was Lamb that was slaughtered, but why was the bread emphasized more? The fact that the bread was Unleavened seemed like the most important thing, but I couldn’t tell exactly why. As I kept meditating on the verse, something interesting hit me.

On the first day remove the yeast from your houses

It was not just about avoid eating the yeast, but also removing yeast from your house altogether! It almost sounded like ridding ourselves completely and cleansing ourselves from sin. Do not even let the trace of sin be found anywhere. Also eating the leavened bread resulted in being cut off from God, just like sin causes the separation between us and God.

or whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.

That’s a serious consequences for just eating some sort of bread, isn’t it? This all represents and symbolizes something more significant.

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Galatians 5:9)

It is quite true that even a slight trace of unrepentant sin can affect the whole body. It quickly spreads to the whole batch before you know it. I got curious about yeast, and started to research a bit more into it. Scientifically speaking how does yeast affect the dough and what’s the optimal state for it to work and make the whole dough rise?

That’s when I found something even MORE interesting.

The optimum temperature range for yeast fermentation is between 90˚F-95˚F (32˚C-35˚C). Every degree above this range depresses fermentation. While elevated temperature is problematic in all phases of ethanol production, it is specifically hazardous during the later stages of fermentation.

Basically yeast thrives and grow the fastest (just like how sin spreads fast) at a certain temperature. That’s between 90 and 95˚F, and you know what that is?

That’s a lukewarm temperature.

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16)

Sin thrives in lukewarmness. Lord, I repent for all the times I was lukewarm and complacent. I want to do a thorough search within myself to find if there is even a small trace of sin hidden, and get rid of it. With a pure and clean heart, I want to run after you with passion, Amen.

Yeast Yeast Yeast!

The School Of Mercy

When it comes to learning Christlikeness, the lessons are inexhaustible—and the teacher will never give up on us

BY CHARITY SINGLETON CRAIG

The office I worked in had an employee manual as thick as a phone book. During my first week on the job, I read the whole thing—attendance policies, dress codes, work-station guidelines—and like all the other employees, I signed the first page, attesting to the fact that I had understood the rules.

“Maybe you could just give the guy a break.”

Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw coworkers eating entire meals at their desk, wearing jeans on days other than Fridays, and chitchatting in the copy room when there were strict policies against these behaviors. Another teammate arrived a few minutes late almost daily, and I wondered why she hadn’t been written up, in accordance with the attendance policy. And when I heard the man in the cubicle next to mine making and receiving personal calls throughout the day, I was incensed. Why can’t they just follow the rules?

One day I was complaining to friends about work, feeling outraged over the latest policy violations.

“Basically, this one guy just stands around talking all the time and never actually gets any work done,” I said.

“Could you talk to his supervisor?” Kelly suggested.

“I guess,” I said, nodding slowly. “I could probably talk to my supervisor, even.”

I turned to Erik to see what advice he might have, but he simply said: “Do you know you have a high justice quotient?”

I stared at him blankly.

Most of the times that the word mercy is used in Scripture, it refers to God extending a hand to those in need. But God also desires mercy from us.

“You seem to take it personally when people don’t obey the rules,” he explained. “Maybe you could just give the guy a break. What if he had to arrange child care?”

When Jesus delivered His famous Sermon on the Mount, He told the crowds that the merciful are blessed because they’ll receive mercy. I imagine at least some in the audience wondered, as I do, how regular people like us could extend mercy in a meaningful way to others. We have such little power over other people. Few of us are owed serious debts. And certainly none of us have the power to exonerate criminals or excuse offenders. God is the merciful one. He alone ultimately holds the power of pardon and forgiveness.

To be sure, most of the times that the word mercy is used in Scripture, it refers to God extending a hand to those in need. But God also desires mercy from us. When Jesus told His disciples and the Pharisees to “go and learn what this means” (Matt. 9:13), surely He was making a way for us to learn mercy as well—including the lesson that mercy prioritizes compassion over strict adherence to rules.

 

I don’t ever want to hear that you’re short-staffed,” I snapped at the nurse and case manager of my mom’s nursing home not long ago, “because that’s not my problem.”

“We understand,” one of them replied softly. Tension hung thick in the room.

“I don’t actually care whether you are short-staffed or not,” I said, repeating myself, “because Mom still needs to be cared for.” I felt my throat catch but was determined not to cry. That was last summer’s approach to helping mom navigate the new world of assisted living and skilled nursing. This was the year of strong and firm. Confident.

“You’re absolutely right. Staffing is not your problem,” the case manager said. “But when someone calls in sick at the last minute, the staff just can’t get everything done. They have to decide what’s most important at the time.”

I felt myself softening.

In a place where compassion should be everyone’s first order of business, occasionally needs get overlooked and tasks go undone. No one likes it—the nurses and aides least of all. And often it seems easier for me to get mad and lash out than to work toward a solution. But when the work of compassionate care falls short, shouldn’t I set things aright with more mercy and not less?

We see Jesus address this issue more than once with the Pharisees when they find Him breaking the Sabbath (Matt. 12). According to The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, the conflict over what it means to rest from work illustrates Jesus’ model for interpreting the law, which differed from the Pharisees’. Whereas they built “an ever tighter fence around the strictest interpretation of the law to keep from breaking it,” Jesus “instead pursued the point of biblical texts in the situation in which they were written.” And when it came to human need versus adherence to rules, He said over and over, quoting the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos. 6:6 NIV). Or, as the IVP Commentary suggests, “Human need in general takes precedence over regulations.”

On the other hand, mercy doesn’t eliminate the need for justice. In fact, Jesus said we need to learn the difference between mercy and sacrifice, not mercy and justice. God’s kingdom operates on the principles of making things right. If that didn’t matter to God, He wouldn’t have sent His only Son to mend what had been broken by sin. But the rule-keeping of justice is different than the rule-keeping of sacrifice, or ritual. In the former, we uphold a standard of fairness for both ourselves and our communities. In the latter, we cross t’s and dot i’s in trying to please God yet fail to realize what He really wants is for us to love Him and each other.

When it came to human need versus adherence to rules, He said over and over, quoting the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

It’s the principle Micah explains to Judah, a nation who kept God’s rituals but lacked both compassion and principle.

“Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil?” Micah asks. And in the next breath, he answers: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:7-8).

Jesus says the same thing to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23You’re great at the easy parts of the law, like tithing, but when it comes to the weightier matters, like justice and mercy and faithfulness, not so much. “These are the things you should have done without neglecting the others,” He says. In essence, Jesus actually does want our sacrifices, but He just doesn’t want us to prioritize them above what really matters.

 

In Matthew 9:10-13, we find the Lord reclining at the table with “tax collectors and sinners”—possibly friends of Matthew, the tax collector whom He had just invited to be a disciple. When the Pharisees saw Jesus with unsavory people, they asked His disciples why a so-called teacher would associate Himself with such a crowd? I’ve often wondered what the disciples would have said if Jesus hadn’t stepped in and answered the question Himself. Did they understand, as He had told them, that it’s the unhealthy who need a doctor, and not the well? And perhaps more importantly, did they realize that disciple, Pharisee, and tax collector alike were equally sick?

In other words, to receive mercy, people need to realize they’re sinners, but they also need to see their own sinfulness in order to extend mercy. It’s like a doctor who suddenly practices medicine more compassionately after he finds himself on the other side of the scalpel. Over the years, I’ve read dozens of these stories, like the one about Kamal Malaker, a clinical oncologist in Antigua, who suddenly needed heart bypass surgery. After decades of treating others, Malaker said finding himself in the vulnerable position of patient gave him more empathy and helped him “exchange shoes with [his] patient[s].”

“I now spend a lot more time … when they come asking for help,” he said. “Whatever they want to talk to me about, I listen.”

 

What’s more, in the school of mercy, facing our own sin teaches not only humility and empathy; it’s also a beginning-level course in the arithmetic of spiritual debt.

In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story of the unforgiving servant, who, after being forgiven a large debt, refuses to extend even a little mercy to a fellow servant owing him much less. When the master finds out, he chastises the wicked servant: “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matt. 18:32-33 NIV).

Of course, the master doesn’t mention the size of either debt, but the amounts owed don’t really matter—at any level, forgiveness comes at a cost. Mercy also can never be paid back; it doesn’t create a new layer of debt when we give it away. Instead, it’s like an investment: With each act of forgiveness, we give and receive the mercy we need in order to pardon the next debt that’s owed.

But like the unforgiving servant, I sometimes feel as if I’ve come to the end of my capacity to forgive or am facing a debt too large to pardon. In fact, it seems Peter was getting close to that point himself when he asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother who sins against him—the very question that prompted Jesus to tell the parable in the first place.

By the end of the story, though, Jesus’ point is clear: Others’ debts don’t determine how much compassion we should show them. God’s lovingkindness does. And perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn in Jesus’ school of mercy is simply this: Though we can never “out mercy” God, He invites us to keep trying, as often as it takes—seventy times seven, and beyond.

 

Illustrations by Ilya Milstein

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/features/the-school-of-mercy

24 Famous Ravi Zacharias Quotes

By Jesse T. Jackson -May 19, 2020

Ravi Zacharias quotes

Ravi Zacharias was an well-known American apologist who touched many lives reflecting the love and truth of Jesus Christ. If you have watched any of his videos, read any of books, listened to his radio shows, were able to attend any of his countless lectures or debates that defended the faith of His Savior and King, then you were blessed by a man of God that desired to give all that he had to lead others to Jesus and encourage others in the faith.

RZIM’s Twitter account posted “This morning, our beloved founder and apologist @RaviZacharias went home to be with Jesus.”

Over the years there are many important quotes and jewels of eternal wisdom which Ravi gave us through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Here are just some of those quotes.

Ravi Zacharias Quotes

“Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, He came to make dead people alive.”

“God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before.”

“Without God, you take man to be God, your body to be a soul, and time to be eternity.”

“We are commanded by God to love our fellow human being no matter how much we disagree with them.”

“An argument may remove doubt, but only the Holy Spirit can convict of truth.”

“We all want Canaan without going through the wilderness.”

“Television has been the single greatest shaper of emptiness.”

“Justice is the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is buried with it.”

“I am totally convinced the Christian faith is the most coherent worldview around.”

“Success is more difficult to handle than failure.”

“The purpose of prayer and of God’s call in your life isn’t to make you number one in the world’s eyes but to make Him number one in your life.”

“Evil is a violation of purpose, the purpose of your creator and mine.”

“Jesus said, ‘Greater things of these you shall do…’ Become a peace builder, a bridge builder, not a destroyer, and the way you do that is through friendships and relationships, and through authentic character.”

“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”

“In churches, we live with the danger of one-way verbal traffic.”

“It was not the volume of sin that sent Christ to the cross; it was the fact of sin.”

“There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.”

“Many Christians have so busied themselves with programs and activities that they no longer know how to be silent and meditate on God’s word or recognize the mysteries that are in the Person of Christ.”

“A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”

“My goal is to satisfy the hunger and longing for those who are seeking the truth.”

“We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.”

“Love is hard work. It is the hardest work I know of, work from which you are never entitled to take a vacation.”

“If you believe in subjective morality, why do you lock your doors at night?”

“Redemption is prior to righteousness. You cannot be righteous until you are first redeemed.”

 

Original here

VIDEO John MacArthur Lists the Requirements They Were Given to Keep Meeting as a Church

Sept 16, 2020

On Thursday, September 10, 2020, a preliminary injunction (which can be read here) was issued against John MacArthur and Grace Community Church by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. The order prohibits Grace Community Church from “conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship service.” The order, according to the Thomas More Society, also “bans outdoor worship unless onerous restrictions are followed.”

That didn’t stop John MacArthur or the congregants at Grace Community Church from worshiping indoors this past Sunday. As Pastor MacArthur took the pulpit for announcements, he was greeted with a thunderous round of applause. He followed by saying “Are you happy to be at church?”

Pastor MacArthur told his congregation that he “thought it might be helpful to give you the list of things that are required of us as a church so that you understand how utterly impossible that would be.”

The List of Restrictions That Must Be Met

  • No indoor meetings at all
  • Pre-registration of every person who comes on the church property
  • People only allowed on church property for scheduled events
  • Every person who comes on the church property is to be screened and have their temperature taken at the entry.
  • We all must maintain 6 feet of social distance at all times everywhere, including the parking lot and restrooms
  • Every other parking space must be left vacant.
  • Marked pathways to maintain social distance, keeping people apart monitored by staff monitors
  • Everyone wears a mask.
  • Restroom monitors to control 6 feet social distancing; tape on the ground marking distance
  • Signs indicating these mandates and also full exposure on social media
  • Restrooms are to be used during the service to minimize the rush.
  • No hymn books
  • No communion
  • No offering containers
  • No pew Bibles
  • No singing
  • No hugging
  • No shaking hands
  • Disposable seat covers changed between services
  • Services have to be shortened.
  • Based upon the separation, we could only meet in a tent with a maximum of 350 to 400 people.

After hearing some of the mandated requirements, the crowd followed with laughter but none louder than after the requirement of John MacArthur’s sermons being cut down because of services needing to be shortened. MacArthur humorously responded, “That’s not a problem to me, right?”

“You can see that these are the requirements that would completely shut the church down,” he said and then expressed by hyperbole a requirement that is not fact: “Anyone that comes in contact with someone outside their family for more than 15 minutes must self-quarantine for two weeks. Obviously this is not constitutional, but more importantly it goes against the will of the Lord of the church who calls us to gather.” After which the crowd again showed their approval of his statement with a round of loud applause.



Watch the entire sermon below

John MacArthur Sees Himself as the Appointed Champion of the CHURCH

Later that night at their Sunday night service, John MacArthur did a Q&A and expressed, “I feel like it took me to get to 80 years before maybe the most critical moment in my life has taken place. I think it is because there are more people listening to the Word of God at this particular time from this pulpit than ever in the history of our church in a regular way, Sunday after Sunday.” MacArthur said this is due to the multiple ‘dire conditions’ in our world and a greater interest in hearing the Word of God.

MacArthur believes that he is delivering truth in a way that other church leaders are not delivering. MacArthur made the comment, “I’ve been ‘kind of a joke,’ for the last 15 to 20 years to the pragmatists, to the church growth, church strategy people.” He said that he “has been like a dinosaur to those type of strategists [because he doesn’t adapt to culture to grow the church], but when the nation starts to burn and people are wanting real answers; they’re not gonna go to a show. They’re not gonna go to a superficial ‘Ted Talk’. When they want the truth, when they desperately need the truth, they’re going to find the truth as God directs them. So this is a time for the truth, and it’s an amazing thing to see this all happening.”

“Superficial preaching is becoming obsolete,” the pastor said. “The people who thought that they were at the top of food chain in terms of ministry and effectiveness in the church are now void. They’re nullified.” MacArthur didn’t mince his words as he said, “This is way too desperate for some superficial approach. You got to tell people more than ‘God wants them to be happy.’ “

As a pastor who is generations removed from the average audience, why is MacArthur getting so much media attention? MacArthur touts his superiority as a Bible preacher for being asked to write and appear in blogs, news articles, talk shows, and podcasts. He says people are saying “give us more, give us more, give us more,” citing because there is a “hunger” for biblical truth. And it seems that MacArthur believes he is the “one” who is called to deliver that truth–apart from other church leaders.

The Lord is the head of the church and that’s why we’re here, regardless of what a judge says,” MacArthur said as he elaborated on their stance ‘Christ, not Caesar, is the head of the church‘. “[The government is] not the head of the church and that is where the church has taken its stand through its entire history…when [the government] steps in and tells the church whether it can meet or not, they have over-stepped their bounds because Christ said my kingdom is not of this world.” The pastor likened himself to the apostles’ example of “we’ll obey God rather than men, and we’ll take the consequences; whatever they are.” MacArthur mentioned that those consequences may begin this week but said “I’m not sure.”

Ever critical of other church practices, MacArthur did not pull any punches when he was asked about his role during this pandemic. The moderator asked pastor MacArthur if he felt like what he is demonstrating [by defying the government] is preparing future generations of pastors to make a similar stand [as Grace Community Church is]. MacArthur answered without hesitation, “I think we have had enough of the pragmatic stuff. I think the church has been sold out to pragmatism…weak-willed, unbiblical preachers that are just personalities…narcissistic self-focused personalities, brokering their charisma, their skills, and their communication ability to build what they call a church, when it isn’t a church at all. Life is far too serious for those…what they are telling people is shy of what people want to hear. It’s time again for the Word of God. Life is far more serious, at least from my perspective, more than it’s ever been.” He then summed up his answer by saying, “The attention of the world is on us and I think we are beginning to see other pastors be strengthened.”

Watch the entire Q&A session here.

MacArthur Says He Has the Backing of President Trump

John MacArthur appeared on The Ingraham Angle Tuesday night to answer host Laura Ingraham’s question of why it’s so important to stand up against the state’s ‘onerous edicts’. MacArthur said, “We believe the governor, the county, the city, and the health department are going against the constitution.” He expressed his thankfulness that “President Trump has told me personally that he supports the church as essential and the churches need to stay open. So with the constitution on our side and the President’s backing, we’re open.”

Pastor MacArthur said that the “church doesn’t exist to make sure it navigates around politicians’ whims. The church exists in the world to preach the saving gospel of Christ.” He shared that the more dire situations around the world become, the more “critical” and the more “essential” the church becomes and the more the world needs to hear the gospel.

Ingraham asked the pastor if Governor Gavin Newsom threatened to do anything to [MacArthur] personally for defying his order. He responded, “No, not personally, but we received a letter with the threat that we could be fined or I could go to jail for a maximum of six months.” MacArthur stated that he didn’t mind ‘being a little apostolic’ referring to one of his biblical heroes, the Apostle Paul. MacArthur joked, “When [Paul] went into a town, he didn’t ask what the hotel was like. He asked what the jail was like cause he knew that’s where he was going to spend his time…If they want to tuck me in a jail, I’m open to a jail ministry. I’ve done a lot of other ministries, I haven’t had the opportunity to do that one…so bring it on!”



John MacArthur Lists the Requirements They Were Given to Keep Meeting as a Church


AUDIO… And All Because

By Rev Bill Woods

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)
16  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

William Soutar was one of the great Scottish poets of the 1900’s.                            – His life was a tragic one. — He died in 1943 only at 45.

For 25 years he suffered a debilitating illness — the last 10 years of his life he was completely helpless.

He had a great gift of writing and in spite of his own tragedy he possessed wit and was a noted storyteller.

One of his stories told the importance and effect of little things.

A logger’s wife forgot to put salt in her husband’s morning porridge.                 – When he angrily complained, she told him he was a fool to make such a fuss   about such a small matter.

This infuriated the logger, and arriving at work in the forest he lashed out at a tree with such force and venom that the axe head flew off.

It injured his employer’s favorite horse that was being led to the blacksmith’s shop.

That was the horse his employer, a nobleman and an important man in the    District, was going to ride to a meeting of Lords to discuss their differences   with the King.

Because of his anger and foul mood over having to find another horse, he successfully argued for an uprising against the King.

In the rebellion that followed many were killed, and there followed a period of poverty, famine and unrest.

This rebellion, loss of life and suffering happened because a wood cutter’s wife forgot to salt her husband’s porridge.

The point of this story is to show how little things can have a widespread effect like throwing a rock into a pond and watching the ripples spread out until they reach the shore.

If we’re young, middle aged or even retired we may feel there’s little we can do, or even want to do, that’ll greatly affect others.

This isn’t true. Every action, every good deed, every performed service, every outreach, has an effect on someone, somewhere — Pay It Forward..

We’re God’s hands and feet – have you used yours today?

A mother got so busy that one evening she forgot to clean the shoes and prepare the clothes for her 3 young children to get ready for school the next day.

The day started badly and very rushed.

The children went to school in tears. Mother and father were fighting and went to work in an ugly mood.

It was a bad day for the whole family and probably for those working alongside the parents.

And all because……

“Faith sometimes begins by stuffing your ears with cotton.”

When Jesus said, “Just believe…” He was saying, “Don’t limit your possibilities to just what you can see.                                                                                                                                                     .   – Don’t listen only for what you can hear.                                                                                    – Don’t be controlled by only what seems logical.

Believing there is more to life than meets the eye!” “Trust Me,” Jesus was pleading. “Don’t be afraid; just trust.”

A father in the Bahamas yelled the same thing to his young son trapped in a burning house.  – The two-story home was engulfed in flames, and the family – father, mother,   and several children- was on its way out when the smallest boy became terrified and ran back upstairs.

His father, outside, shouted to him: “Jump, son, jump! I’ll catch you.” The boy cried: “But Daddy, I can’t see you.” “I know,” his father called, “but I can see you.”

A similar example of faith was found on the wall of a concentration camp.        – A prisoner had carved, “I believe in the sun, even though it doesn’t shine, I       believe in love, even when it isn’t shown, I believe in God, even when He           doesn’t speak.”

Try to imagine the person who etched those words with his skeletal hand gripping the broken glass or stone that cut into the wall.                                          – Imagine his eyes squinting through the darkness as he carved each letter.

What hand could’ve cut such a conviction? What eyes could’ve seen good in such horror?

There’s only one answer: Eyes that chose to see the unseen.

Paul wrote — 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)
16  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Either to live by the facts or to see by faith. When tragedy strikes we’re left to choose what we see.

I don’t mean to buy into the Christian Science Doctrine thinking life is just an illusion, but I do mean to adopt Romans 8:28, and not let everything swamp our boat.

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

Remember, this life is short compared to eternity and eternity is where we’ll find our answers as to “why” and also complete satisfaction for what we go through here.

We can see either the hurt or the Healer.   The choice is ours.


AND ALL BECAUSE PODCAST

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