VIDEO Micah

By Chuck Swindoll

 

Who wrote the book?

The prophet Micah identified himself by his hometown, called Moresheth Gath, which sat near the border of Philistia and Judah about twenty-five miles southwest of Jerusalem. Dwelling in a largely agricultural part of the country, Micah lived outside the governmental centers of power in his nation, leading to his strong concern for the lowly and less fortunate of society—the lame, the outcasts, and the afflicted (Micah 4:6). Therefore, Micah directed much of his prophecy toward the powerful leaders of Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah, respectively (1:1).

Where are we?

As a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea, Micah prophesied during the momentous years surrounding the tragic fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire (722 BC), an event he also predicted (Micah 1:6). Micah stated in his introduction to the book that he prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah, failing to mention the simultaneous string of dishonorable kings that closed out the northern kingdom of Israel.

During this period, while Israel was imploding from the effects of evil and unfaithful leadership, Judah seemed on a roller-coaster ride—ascending to the heights of its destiny in one generation, only to fall into the doldrums in another. In Judah at this time, good kings and evil kings alternated with each other, a pattern seen in the reigns of Jotham (good, 2 Kings 15:32–34); Ahaz (evil, 2 Kings 16:1–4); and Hezekiah (good, 2 Kings 18:1–7).

Why is Micah so important?

The book of Micah provides one of the most significant prophecies of Jesus Christ’s birth in all the Old Testament, pointing some seven hundred years before Christ’s birth to His birthplace of Bethlehem and to His eternal nature (Micah 5:2).

Surrounding Micah’s prophecy of Jesus’s birth is one of the most lucid pictures of the world’s future under the reign of the Prince of Peace (5:5). This future kingdom, which scholars call the millennial kingdom, will be characterized by the presence of many nations living with one another in peace and security (4:3–4) and coming to Jerusalem to worship the reigning king, that is, Jesus Himself (4:2). Because these events have not yet occurred, we look forward to the millennial kingdom at some undetermined time in the future.

What’s the big idea?

Much of Micah’s book revolves around two significant predictions: one of judgment on Israel and Judah (Micah 1:1–3:12), the other of the restoration of God’s people in the millennial kingdom (4:1–5:15). Judgment and restoration inspire fear and hope, two ideas wrapped up in the final sequence of Micah’s prophecy, a courtroom scene in which God’s people stand trial before their Creator for turning away from Him and from others (6:1–7:20). In this sequence, God reminds the people of His good works on their behalf, how He cared for them while they cared only for themselves. But rather than leave God’s people with the fear and sting of judgment, the book of Micah concludes with the prophet’s call on the Lord as his only source of salvation and mercy (7:7), pointing the people toward an everlasting hope in their everlasting God.

How do I apply this?

Much of Micah’s indictment against Israel and Judah involves these nations’ injustice toward the lowly—unjust business dealings, robbery, mistreatment of women and children, and a government that lived in luxury off the hard work of its nation’s people.

Where does the injustice dwell in your own life? Who are the lowly in your life? Do you need a call toward repentance, like the people of Israel and Judah did?

Micah’s impassioned plea for God’s chosen people to repent will cut many of us to the quick. Most of us don’t decide daily to cut people down or find ways to carry out injustice. Instead, we do it out of habit. Let’s allow the words of Micah to break us out of our apathy about extending justice and kindness to others and press on toward a world that better resembles the harmonious millennial kingdom to come. Let’s determine to live as God desires—“to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-minor-prophets/micah


Overview: Micah


Unlocking the Old Testament Part 52 – Micah


 

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VIDEO Story Behind The Scars

July 2, 2019 By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

 

Unless you have been exceptionally lucky (hint, I don’t believe in luck) then you have a scar or two. Some scars are visible and some are not. Do you remember the time you bumped into the table when you were three, probably not.

We get scars from accidents, surgery, combat wounds, or perhaps from being a victim of a violent crime. Physical scars can heal faster than emotional or psychological scars.  Emotional or psychological scars may need assistance from someone else. That assistance could come in the form of a listening ear or by way of trained individuals.

Scars can be tender or sensitive to the touch especially when fresh. Once healed, tapping the healed scar and deep massage around the scar are two excellent ways of speeding up the scar desensitisation process.

Healing could include forgiveness for someone who harmed you. Forgiveness does no mean forgetting.

“Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger to perturb our emotional well-being.

It is critical to remember that forgiveness doesn’t automatically mean a reconciliation. We don’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone who has hurt us.

Although burying the hatchet usually brings peace to the soul, there may be some exceptions to that advice, such as a case of sexual abuse. Sometimes a victim becomes more empowered when they give themselves permission not to forgive.

Equally, and perhaps more important, is learning to acknowledge your missteps and forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is often the first step toward a more loving and positive relationship with yourself, and therefore with others.” (1)

“One reason we resist forgiving is that we don’t really understand what forgiveness is or how it works. We think we do, but we don’t.

Most of us assume that if we forgive our offenders, they are let off the hook — scot-free — and get to go about their merry ways while we unfairly suffer from their actions. We also may think that we have to be friendly with them again, or go back to the old relationship. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.

The first step to understanding forgiveness is learning what it is and isn’t. The next step is giving yourself permission to forgive and forget, letting go of the bitterness while remembering very clearly your rights to healthy boundaries.” (2)

We have a two hundred and forty plus year old relationship I want to discuss.  This week we celebrate the birth of our country. Just like any family, group, town, state or country we have had some bumps along the way. Yes, we have accumulated some scars along the way. Despite the scars or perhaps because of the scars we are the greatest country that ever existed, warts and all.  We have the greatest country that ever existed because we have a good foundation, and because people have defended her against enemies both foreign and domestic.

Not everyone in our country agrees on defining the issues or how to address them. We have the right to disagree and peacefully air out our differences without becoming disagreeable. Violent protests are an end in and of itself and rarely produce willing converts. Violent protests create greater divisions.

My fellow veterans and those currently serving did so and do so in order to preserve our hard fought freedom and liberty.  May I suggest that we as a country look for more ways to heal our scars rather than reopening or opening new wounds?

Healing our wounds and scars will lead to glorious birthday celebrations. We can accomplish more healing by working together than we can by being at odds with each other.

What is the story behind your scars?  Do you have any scars that need to be healed, if so today is a good day to begin the healing?

Would you stand with me to help heal the scars?

Facing the Challenge (60s)

 

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/forgiveness

(2) https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/story-behind-the-scars/


VIDEO ‘As In the Days of Noah’

By Rob Pue – June 4, 2019

A short time ago, my wife and I were having lunch in a small restaurant on a Sunday, and nearby was a lady pastor, dressed in black clergy garb and collar.  She was sitting with several couples around a large round table.  It appeared this was a group from her church, having lunch after their service.  As they ate, there was a lively discussion about “fundamentalist” Christians, and how deluded they are.

“The problem,” this lady pastor laughed, “is that so many people are stuck in the mindset of what they have always been taught.  But now we KNOW so much more.  Now we have SCIENCE, which explains so many things that were mysteries to the Bible writers.  If only these fundamentalists would open their eyes and adapt to the times!”

Here we had a modern, ultra-liberal lady pastor, (and very likely a practicing lesbian, based on other things we observed), surrounded by adoring members of her congregation, and she was instilling doubt in the minds of her flock — doubt that the Bible could be trusted, and more than that, she was actually holding Biblical Scripture up for open mockery and ridicule — along with anyone who would believe God’s Word.  Now, you might think this was maybe a Unitarian Universalist gathering, and it could have been, but it wasn’t.  It was a group of people from a MAINLINE so-called “Christian” denomination, and if I shared that denomination with you, you might be surprised.  I won’t do that here.  I’m trying to be tactful.

But this is an example of what is taking place in our world today.  As I sat nearby, overhearing this discussion, the Lord showed me an image of this lady pastor — not as she appeared there in the diner — but as she really is, in her true form: as the serpent we read about in Genesis 3.  From the very beginning, Satan’s tactics have been the same… instilling doubt in the minds of God’s people, causing them to distrust God’s Word, and scoffing at people who believe Him.   Here was a mainline protestant “pastor,” presumably entrusted to teach and instruct and rightly divide the Word of Truth… openly and proudly lying and planting the seeds of doubt in the souls she is responsible for.   Literally, there was NO DIFFERENCE between this lady and the serpent in the garden.  Both were betraying the Creator.  BOTH will reap the same reward.

As human beings, we do not know everything.  We are not omniscient.  But we have been blessed with the knowledge the Lord has seen fit to entrust us with.  By reading, studying and meditating upon God’s written Word, we have all the information we need to base our lives on this earth upon.  If we needed to know more, we can rest assured, God would have told us more.  Some things, however, will remain mysteries to us.  Some things are not for us to know.  It’s not foolish or simplistic of me to say this or accept this.  It’s simply a matter of faith.  I trust my Creator to provide for me and give me the knowledge, information, discernment, judgment and wisdom I need in this world.  As I seek to know HIM more, He reveals Himself and His ways to me.  He’s my heavenly Father, and I trust Him.  Good grief — why wouldn’t I?   And how arrogant and presumptuous to assume I know better!

This is not the topic of my message today.  But this anecdote is instructive because it is important to remember, Satan, the serpent, is still here today, and still using the same old tactics he did in the garden…and moreover, sometimes he will disguise himself as an angel of light — or, in this case, as a modern day, liberal protestant pastor.

But it’s easy to see through the devil’s disguise.  Because anytime someone tells you or tries to teach you something contrary to God’s Word, or anytime someone tries to get you to doubt God’s Word or as they will say, “think critically” — (which is code for “did God really say…”) —  you can be sure you’re dealing with a serpent.  Of course, in order to know if something you’re hearing is contrary to God’s Word, you have to already KNOW what God’s Word really says.  I’m assuming, here, that you do.

But now, let’s move on, because I want to talk about a few things we can count on, from God’s Word.  Specifically, how Jesus said when He returns, the world will be like the days of Noah and Lot.  So let’s get started, back in Genesis.  Biblical scholars place the time of Creation at approximately 4004 BC.  That makes the Earth and all things in it about 6019 years old.  And at that time,  in the beginning, when God created all things, He declared everything “Good.”

But it wasn’t long before the serpent lured mankind into sin, and this was accomplished first of all by causing Adam and Eve to doubt what God said.  One simple doubt, one lapse of faith and good judgment, brought death and destruction upon all mankind.  If you read the Bible through from cover to cover, you will see a pattern woven throughout the history of all humanity…  all of our woes, all of our sorrows, all our regrets… we bring all these things upon ourselves because we doubt what God said.  How many times did Jesus lament, with great sorrow:

“Oh ye of little faith?!”

If only we believed.  If only we had the faith of a mustard seed!  Indeed.

History moved on.  Many centuries came and went.  In Genesis, we read about Cain and Abel, Seth, Enosh, Jared, Methuselah, Lamech and finally, Noah.  Finally we come to chapter six in Genesis, and I’d like to share that with you, starting at verse 5.

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain.  So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth — men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air — for I am grieved that I have made them.’”

Of course, we all know what happened next.  God purified the earth through the flood, saving only eight souls alive, and we began again.  Then the Lord promised to never again destroy the earth with a flood.  He said:

“I have set My rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

It is interesting to note that the rainbow — the symbol the LORD chose as His covenant with us —  has today been hijacked by the homosexual lobby, and they’ve turned it into a sign of prideful rebellion against God and nature.

Bible scholars place the time of the flood at approximately 2304 BC, so there were approximately 1700 years between the creation of the earth and Noah’s flood.  It was about 406 years later, in approximately 1898 BC that we read another account of God’s anger.  You can read about this starting in Genesis 18… the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.   God said:

“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous…”

Yet He promised Abraham that for the sake of ten people who might be found in those cities to be righteous, He would not destroy them.  Apparently there were not even ten, because the next thing we read, the LORD sends two angels, appearing as men, to investigate the cities, and to rescue Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family.

As we read the account of the angels visiting Sodom, the way the men of the city of Sodom behave is eerily familiar.  These men are homosexuals.  They march in unison against Lot’s home.  They surround it and make demands.  They yell and scream and condemn Lot for “judging” them.  They attack and try to break down the door.  It sounds very much like the typical “gay pride parade” of today…  anytime there is a homosexual “pride” march or parade, there is always anger and hatred, there is always those among them accusing Christians of “judging” them, there is always mockery of God and Christianity, along with vile displays of perverse sensuality, and vicious disrespect of the things we hold sacred.  Because the same demonic spirit inhabits modern homosexuals as it did in the days of Lot…Satan is not that bright — he only has a couple of tricks.

Now here we are today.  As I write this message, it is literally impossible to keep up with all that is happening in our world, regarding man’s rush to self-destruction.  It’s mind-boggling and we have taken the offense of Sodom and Gomorrah to a whole new level.  Not only have we used our silly Courts to try to redefine the God-ordained institution of marriage, we have made it mandatory to steal the innocence of young children, and indoctrinate and confuse them about sexuality, and then we’ve made it illegal to counsel them to remain “straight” when they become confused!

We not only kill our own babies for convenience, we then sell their body parts for profit.  And we have leaders in power who praise child-rapists and savages who behead and torture innocent victims, while calling humble, peaceful Christians who follow God’s Word “homegrown terrorists.”   I can’t imagine it was any worse in Noah’s time or in Lot’s time, can you?

But Jesus said it would be like this.  And once again, God’s Word proves true.  There will be plenty who laugh it off, and cast doubt.  And the Bible even tells us plainly that THIS will happen.  There will be those who defiantly boast:

“Where is the promise of His coming?”

But remember how I said to identify a serpent…

We are reliving the days of Noah and Lot right now.  Look at the words of Christ in Luke 17:  “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

He went on:

“It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.  It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“I will come again,” said Jesus in John 14:3.  Really, that is the only solution to this mess.  We don’t know when He will come, not the hour nor the day.  Only the Father Himself knows the appointed time.  But, observing the signs of the times and believing God’s Word, we know that surely, we MUST be at the very brink of eternity.

So how shall we live then?  In fear?  In dread?  Should we hide in our closets, or our churches and just let the wicked world around us burn?  No!  God’s Word tells us:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do good works.”

We can get caught up in the mess, we can put our hope in the leaders of this world, we can hope and pray “our” candidate wins the White House next year and solves all our problems.  But we would be wrong.  Our hope, our only hope, lies in the Savior, God’s Son — just as it always has.  I’m not saying we should resign ourselves to a wicked, evil world.  Surely we are still to be salt and light here.  We’re still to stand up for God’s Word and Truth, we are to share the Gospel and, like those angels who were sent to warn Lot, rescue as many as we can from the fire.  We are to stand in the gap for the innocent, and to minister and love those the world — and the “religious leaders” — choose to pass by on the other side of the street, refusing to look upon.  We must still BE that good Samaritan.

But meanwhile, we also have a great hope.  We know God’s Word and His promises are true, and we know we need never doubt, nor should we put our trust or our hope in the temporal and vain things of man.  Our faith, our resolve and our fortitude will be greatly tested, as through the fire.  But we know, the one who endures to the end shall be saved.     The rain drops fell in Noah’s time.  The fire fell upon Sodom.  And now the Grace of God will come from the sky next, riding on the clouds, just as He departed.  Luke 21:28 tells us:

“Look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near!”

Any day now.  Watch… and pray.

As seen here at Wisconsin Christian News. Posted here with permission.

Audio CDs and text versions of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066.  Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com.  Ask for message number 136.

© 2015 By Rob Pue, Publisher

WISCONSIN CHRISTIAN NEWS

PO Box 756

Marshfield, WI  54449

(715) 486-8066

www.WisconsinChristianNews.com

Original here


Pope Francis Sends Video Message to Kenneth Copeland – Lets Unite

 


Thirsty?

May 24, 2019 by Discerning Dad, KEITH GRIGGEORY

lessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

What does Jesus really mean, to be thirsty for righteousness? What is righteousness and why is it a blessing to thirst for it? The word, “righteous,” here means to stand in the right way. Does this mean the religious, that have it all together with the Big Guy upstairs, get blessed? It makes sense that God being pure love must always bless His children. So, it makes perfect sense that the prosperous must be on God’s good side. Yet we see many examples of wealthy individuals who obviously are not seeking God. Then, why are they so blessed? There’s something we missed. What about the word here, “thirsty?” A quick word study in the Blue Letter Bible website reveals this definition, “figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, 2019).

What does it mean to be thirsty then? Here in the Arizona desert, one summer season can drop even the strongest man without the life-giving, life-sustaining power of water. But thirst has more ways to be quenched besides water. If you have any teens around the home, you may already know more than one meaning of the word. I have three teen boys going to our local high school and I find myself often conversing with them about relational drama. Anyone who must have multiple relationships or must continually be in a relationship, regardless of the number of hookups and breakups, earn the name of “thirsty.” Of course, as young men, they are obviously not immune to the culture’s seductive lure, so we strategize what the best ways of maintaining focus might be. I will say my old eyes have been opened to the aggressive dating atmosphere plaguing their young existence (okay, well I’m 46 so whatever.)

I don’t know about you but, as I attended high school, I remember there being a preoccupation with relationships, but the atmospheric pressure was a little more secondary to school activities and/or hanging out with friends. Or was it? Growing up in the seventies and eighties was all about the top 40 hits and movies that were fast and furious before there was such a franchise. The phrase, “one-hit wonder,” was birthed out of what is now called the Retro Age. The music industry and the movies echoed relationships that promised forever and ever based on the youthful ego of now. Thinking more on it made me realize those events did show us wrapped up in the “perfect relationship” just like today. It’s funny how our memories tend to color facts to the point of diminishing the past’s reality. King David gives us a notable example of how easily we can forget past realities but more shows us what it looks like to thirst either for God or for others.

Some of King David’s most pointed contributions to scripture were written while hiding away from the then current king, King Saul. David had already been anointed king, so he had right to the throne, but his zeal for the relationship he had with God kept him from challenging the current king. He trusted God’s appointment to the position would eventually make his kingship a reality. Though, this was not to be in King David’s timing but God’s. In his self-imposed exile, he laments over the fact he cannot draw near to God’s presence in the Levitical Israelite way. An example like Psalm 42 shows David’s desire for God as it states, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). This passion of his for God was incredible but later it’s revealed that passion can be distracted.

King David’s most touching readings of relationship with God are in Psalms, but his most infamous recording of passion is in 2 Samuel. It records that while the king should have gone out to war, he stayed back. There is no mention of why, yet, in the same passage he is shown to have adulterous passion for a neighbor’s wife. This thirst led to adultery, deception, dishonor, and murder. Tell me again why this man is called a man after God’s own heart? Before getting too consumed by the question, it’s wise to look at our own world. All around we see passion plays. We pay billions of dollars a year to be entertained by the latest superhero movies with emotional relationships woven throughout the genre. Media thrives on thirst. So, if thirst runs rampant throughout society, and we believe that God created us all, then it follows that He placed the thirst in us. Why? Isn’t calling Him our Savior good enough? If God was handing out insurance plans for those that want assurance of a heavenly destination where they can experience eternal selfish bliss, then I suppose that would be enough. But scripture doesn’t show God as a heavenly Circle K clerk. Nor does it show Him as a Zeus-like impersonal jerk who sets things in motion just to see how much trouble we can get into without Him.

The history we see in the lives of the Bible are earmarked by moments of greatness mixed with human depravity. Even after King David’s example, the line of kings that followed seemed to either cling to God through devotion or rail against Him in rebellion. In all cases, whether loyal or defiant, God shows Himself to the Israelites as long-suffering yet powerful. In the book of Isaiah, He longs for the people to be faithful. He knows what’s best for His love, even if they have gone astray, as He states through the prophet, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18). The prophet later reminds them regarding their ancestor’s common selfish nature saying, “They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:21-22). Scripture shows they didn’t thirst for God but wanted their own way.

Repeatedly, we demonstrate how we hunger and thirst for anything but God, while over and over God shows He desires us. It’s not only our focus that needs redirecting but our definition of peace as well. Even though Isaiah was written some 2600 years ago, the message from God has not changed. A later portion of the book states:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” (Isaiah 55:1-4.)

The hunger and thirst we have aren’t really for food or water but for the Living God who created us and sustains us. We end up searching for other things to satisfy that need though. Here, God states through Isaiah that it’s the ones who unashamedly come to Him, those that are not able to purchase, that will be satisfied by what He provides. God’s providing faithful love identified like the Davidic relationship. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard this before so yeah, you’ve checked out. One more question though: got milk?

Of course, there are things that go together like Oreos and milk but what about good works and faith? For some people, doing good is easier than for other people, that’s plain to see. But is doing good what counts for being in a right relationship with God or is faith in God’s ability what counts to create appropriate works? The stories regarding the rich and the Kingdom of God in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18 all tell of the rich young man questioning Jesus about what he must do to gain the Kingdom of God. He had great wealth and lived religiously in a culture that elevated pious acts in a prescribed order to God status. Still, he obviously desired more since he continued to thirst. When Jesus told him the correct answer of selling all he had (losing all of his statuses that he made for himself) and follow Jesus (be in right relations with the King of the Kingdom he desired), the man’s response was natural, wrong, but natural. Most of the time we look at the wealth component of this story and see God saying we must be in poverty to experience God. Well, that may be true. Living in the wealthiest nation on the planet, we all might need to lose a lot of financial success to see God for who He really is. But the deeper point to this story has little to do with the amount of money. It’s much more about the desire for God and His Kingdom versus our desire for ours. What will we choose?

The issue of thirst did start at the beginning with Adam and Eve. But to say that they are to blame for the choices we make some six thousand years later is absurd. The only thing it proves is that like them, we choose to blame everyone else for our dumb choices. What of our children that have been handed the torch of thirst? We cannot make their choices for them, nor can we stop the incessant flow of temptations. As a father of six great blessings (yes, I have been thirsty too) I have found the best thing I can do for them is focused on my example. I conclude with this, for those of us who call ourselves Christian, where is the thirst for the One that first called us to Himself? For those who don’t call themselves Christian, what do you thirst for? For all involved, what do you find your mind bent on most of the time? What things have we all been allowing our hearts to crave? Whether we admit it or hide it, whether we celebrate or exhibit shame for it, the things we thirst after are the best indicator of whose kingdom we serve and who we really love. The choice is ours, what are we thirsty for?

Keith Griggeory
Guest Discerning Dad

 

Original here

VIDEO Book Review: The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur

Over the past several decades, Evangelical Christians have been fiercely debating the true nature of saving faith in Christ. Some believe that a person can place their faith in Christ for salvation and yet persist in a sinful lifestyle, even growing more wicked as the years go by. Some call this “easy-believism.” But others believe that true, saving faith in Christ will necessarily result in a lifestyle of growing love for God and man, so that a true believer will grow in holiness, not sinfulness, having submitted his life to the authority of Jesus. This is often called “lordship salvation.” This debate continues, and no end is in sight.

John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus is perhaps the classic book on this issue. He firmly and clearly sets forth the lordship salvation position. His method for proving this is simple: he goes through the teachings of Jesus Himself, as portrayed in the four gospels, and shows how He expects that His true followers will obey Him.

This issue cannot be ignored. If easy-believism is correct, then lordship salvation wrongly places a heavy burden on the “carnal Christians,” telling them that they are still under the wrath of God. But if lordship salvation is true, then many professing Christians are indeed on the road to Hell, for many professing Christians live with complete disregard for the commands of Christ—and easy-believism helps them on to their eternal torment.

If you are a pastor or teacher, it is especially necessary for you to examine this issue, for you have a special care over the souls of the people under you. MacArthur’s book will greatly help you in your investigation. But really, every professing Christian must look into this question, whether or not our teachers do, since in the end we all—individually—must give an account to God.


May 20, 2016 By Douglas R. Kump

I first read John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus in 1990 shortly after it was published. It is not an over-exaggeration when I say the book completely revolutionized my understanding of the message of the good news as proclaimed by Jesus in the Gospels. John MacArthur is one of the greatest influences on my Christian life and ministry. As a very young man and Christian I learned from John MacArthur what the true Gospel is, and I also learned to love the Word of God. Later, in my teaching and pastoral ministry I followed (and still do) his example of expository preaching through the biblical text. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus is definitely a contemporary classic and is just as relevant and important today as it was when it first appeared almost 30 years ago.

John MacArthur is the Bible-teacher on the internationally broadcast radio program Grace to You. He is also the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church and president of the Master’s College and Seminary all in Southern California. He is a prolific author and has written on many subjects in the fields of biblical studies, theology, practical ministry, as well as The MacArthur Study Bible and his massive New Testament commentary series. In 2008 a revised and expanded anniversary edition of The Gospel According to Jesus was released. It is this edition of the book that I will be reviewing in this post. Upon reading The Gospel According to Jesus again after all of those years it still had a profound impact on me and really helped in so many ways, especially given the present assault of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The exclusion of the lordship of Jesus Christ from the contemporary Gospel message was the primary catalyst for MacArthur’s writing The Gospel According to Jesus. The message of Jesus in the Gospels was clear in that He called sinners to “a repentant, submissive surrender to the truth—including the truth of His lordship” (p. 11). Some erroneously charged MacArthur with teaching a works-based salvation because of his insistence that the Bible declared obedience to Christ as Lord. However, this false accusation was easily refuted and MacArthur very carefully and correctly shows what the true Gospel entails over and against the unbiblical view of “carnal Christianity” and “easy-believism.” MacArthur begins by asking the question “What is the Gospel?” He then examines the biblical accounts and presents a powerful portrait of the true Gospel as proclaimed by Jesus in contrast to the weak, popular, and false gospel taught by so many today. His goal is to present a “clear and precise understanding of the eternal gospel” (p. 22) and in my estimation he succeeds exceedingly well.

The Gospel According to Jesus is divided into six parts including three appendixes (Part 6). In part one MacArthur explains what it means to follow Jesus as Lord and as slaves of Christ. He then goes on to show how Jesus’ Gospel has been abandoned and gives a historical overview of exactly how it happened. An outstanding presentation of the biblical doctrine of salvation is also provided in this section. In part two the Gospel is shown to be a call for a “new birth” and this necessary regeneration is the only means by which a person can be saved. MacArthur gives an excellent exposition of John 4 and the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Genuinely converted people will necessarily worship God according to “spirit and truth” (cf. John 4: 24). Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and MacArthur powerfully demonstrates that God saves his elect so that they may in turn repent, exercise faith, submit, and bear fruit. This is indeed taking upon the “yoke of rest” (see chapter 10). Salvation from beginning to end is entirely a work of the triune God.

In part three, the illustrations used by Jesus in his parables to explain the Gospel are explored. MacArthur really brings out the riches of the parables: “the soils” (chapter 11), the wheat and tares (chapter 12), “the treasures of the kingdom” (chapter 13), “the first and the last” (chapter 14), “the lost and found” (chapter 15), and “the vine and branches” (chapter 16). When I first read this book it was this section that really helped me understand the Gospel in a concrete manner and lead me to truly commit myself to the Lordship of Christ. The parables that Jesus taught are just amazing stories that vividly clarify the content of the Gospel and our response to it. In part four MacArthur writes about the critical essence and requirement of repentance as well as the nature of true faith. MacArthur’s section on justification (chapter 19) is crucial to a proper understanding of the Gospel. And, with all the current controversy over the nature of justification this chapter really needs to read and heeded today. The chapter (22) on the “Cost of Discipleship” is a superb and sobering reminder of what it means to authentically “take up the cross” in following the Lord Jesus Christ. In part five it is Jesus who fulfills the Gospel. There is only one chapter in part five but it is a very powerful section because it deals with the death of Jesus and what his death accomplished on our behalf. And, in the end it is the resurrection of Christ that gives us the great hope of salvation for all of eternity.

Part six offers three appendixes. In Appendix 1 the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed is shown to be the same Gospel the apostles would also preach. This was the subject of MacArthur’s subsequent work entitled The Gospel According to the Apostles in which he expands and offers a more detailed account of the Gospel message of the apostles. Appendix 2 gives a brief but solid overview of the Gospel in church history. Appendix 3 provides MacArthur’s answers to questions raised in response to The Gospel According to Jesus.

This book is a much needed corrective to the prevalent weak and corrupted gospel that is being proclaimed in many churches today. MacArthur provides us with a clear and compelling presentation of the Gospel as proclaimed by Jesus Christ. It is my hope and prayer that this book would be read widely and that the Gospel according to Jesus would be believed, obeyed, and taught, all for the glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Douglas R. Kump

Tutor of Theology and Apologetics at Woodstream Christian Academy
Education: B.A., Biblical Studies Washington Bible College 
M. Div., Liberty University 
Location: Odenton, MD 
Pastorate Pastor/Teacher @ Messiah New Covenant Congregation 
Harris Connection: Former student of Dr. Greg Harris at Washington Bible College.

Book Review: The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur


John MacArthur: The Gospel According to Jesus, Singapore

Aug 27, 2017
John MacArthur came to Singapore in the 90s and shared his new book, “The Gospel According to Jesus.”
I have converted from VHS tape to Mp4 video. The video quality is not good but I hope you can enjoy his sermon.


Outspoken Christians Will Not Be Tolerated

Well, that didn’t take long. For daring to share some Scripture passages on his own social media page, Australian rugby star Israel Folau has been given the boot – all in the name of tolerance and inclusion of course. As one report puts it:

Israel Folau is set to be sacked following his social media posts on Wednesday night, leaving the Wallabies’ preparations ahead of September’s World Cup in chaos. A year after telling gay people that they were destined for hell on Instagram, the 30-year-old doubled down on his hateful, harmful rhetoric by sharing a meme that informed the masses that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” on the social media platform.

https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/it-is-our-intention-to-terminate-his-contract-rugby-australia-to-sack-israel-folau/news-story

Hmm, “hateful, harmful rhetoric”? Nothing like throwing in some editorialising with your reporting mate. But this is always how the tolerance crowd operates – drone on and on about it all the time, but refuse to practice it when it comes to Christians and conservatives.

Of course it is not hard to see why the persecution of Folau was so swift and severe: Qantas, headed by a homosexual, is a major sponsor of the Wallabies. They are not really into love and acceptance. Qantas boss Alan Joyce said a few years back that if you are not pro-homosexual you should not fly with Qantas: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/04/27/godless-corporations-rampant-discrimination-blackmailing-christians/

And get a load of this statement from Qantas: “These comments are really disappointing and clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support.” Um, let me see if I got this straight: in the name of inclusion and diversity Qantas and Rugby Australia will NOT tolerate and include Folau. Sure, makes perfect sense.

The attack on him has been relentless. As I keep saying, I expect pagans to hate on Christians. What grieves my spirit deeply is how many so-called Christians have been blasting him as well. As but one example of many, I had one gal say this on a social media post about him:

Bill Muehlenberg Homosexuality is not the only sin referred to in scripture – I would take his stand far more seriously if he highlighted other sins impacting professional sportsmen and women as well – e.g. cheating, rough and unnecessarily aggressive play, greed, and the most serious of all not placing God first in their lives. Further, these sins have far more serious consequences impacting the lives of others, than what goes on between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

To which I replied:

Thanks, but you obviously did not even bother to read my article (nor the remarks of Folau). Had you actually done so instead of offering us your knee jerk reaction you would have seen that he did EXACTLY that!! He highlighted a whole bunch of sins! He mentioned an entire list of sins, not just homosexuality. Indeed, he simply quoted a list of sins from Scripture.

But what has bothered me far more than these clueless Christians are all the Christian “leaders” who have come out to attack him and rebuke him. This I find so very worrying. One online Christian magazine asked a bunch of these leaders what they would say to Folau.

Most of their replies were really rather appalling. Most accused Folau of being unloving and judgmental and ungracious and condemning and reckless – the very same things most non-Christians call Christians when they seek to share biblical truth.

One spoke of “Folau’s clodhopping use of the Bible — with verses ripped out of context and lists of ‘sinners’ bound for hell, without any sense of the broader story — distorts the core message of the text”. Umm, he simply quoted some Scriptures which speak to the situation at hand. And such people are NOT sinners? You mean Paul was wrong?

Why do I suspect that some of these leaders would condemn the prophets, Jesus, Paul and Peter for the way they shared truth and evangelised? Why do I suspect that some of them would think they have a better grip on these matters than they did?

And all this despite what Folau has actually said – the stuff the lamestream media and clueless Christians do NOT want you to be aware of. He recently wrote some pieces seeking to explain his stance. Let me quote from some of it:

People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that. I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily. I understand a lot of people won’t agree with some of the things I’m about to write. That’s absolutely fine. In life, you are allowed to agree to disagree. But I would like to explain to you what I believe in, how I arrived at these beliefs and why I will not compromise my faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.

I hope this will provide some context to the discussion that started with my reply to a question asked of me on Instagram two weeks ago. I read the Bible every day. It gives me a sense of peace I have not been able to find in any other area of my life. It gives me direction. It answers my questions. I believe that it is a loving gesture to share passages from the Bible with others. I do it all the time when people ask me questions about my faith or things relating to their lives, whether that’s in-person or on my social media accounts….

I have tried to live my life in God’s footsteps ever since. I follow his teachings and read the Bible all the time in order to learn and become a better person. Since that happened I have been at peace and enjoyed life with an open, honest heart, which is why my faith in Jesus comes first. I would sooner lose everything – friends, family, possessions, my football career, the lot – and still stand with Jesus, than have all of those things and not stand beside Him….

Anyone who knows me knows I am not the type to upset people intentionally. Since my social media posts were publicised, it has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people. This could not be further from the truth. I fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women. I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone.
www.playersvoice.com.au/israel-folau-im-a-sinner-too/

I for one support Israel and am praying for him. I will ignore the legion of armchair critics and keep seeking to encourage him. That does not mean I would do everything the way he has done it, as I wrote in my earlier piece: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/israel-folau-the-apostle-paul-and-the-gospel/

But I applaud his courage and his dedication to Christ. And yes, it IS a loving thing to do to warn the sinner about his fate and to urge him to run to Christ: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/04/11/yes-it-is-loving-to-tell-sinners-about-hell/

Sorry, but give me one courageous – albeit imperfect – Israel Folau instead of a thousand of his milquetoast critics any day of the week. God bless you Israel.

As seen here at Culture Watch. Posted here with permission.

Original here


As In The Days Of Noah

In recent years, I’ve noticed a messaging trend in columns, commentary and sermons regarding a section of Scripture in Matthew 24.  It’s the, “As in the days of Noah,” passage, and I believe some people are missing its central meaning.  The point they make is that when the Lord returns, the world will be sinful like in the days of Noah, and as proof they use this part of the verse:

“38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage…”

In part, they claim it refers to the corruption of marriage, as in same-sex “marriage,” but that’s not what Jesus is saying there.  Yes, when the Lord returns there will be horrible, rampant sin in the world, but the sinfulness will be worse than in the days of Noah.  Remember what Jesus said earlier in verses 21-22:

“21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

What is yet to come is unimaginably worse than anything the world has ever seen.  The sinfulness, the tribulation, everything will be worse even than in the days of Noah.  It will be terrible, but look at the context of what Jesus is saying in the, “as in the days of Noah,” passage.  In Matthew 24, He is speaking to His disciples of the events that will lead up to His return and the return itself, and starting in verse 36, He pivots to the exact time of His return:

“36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

Jesus is making the point that His return will be sudden and will catch people unaware, so Christians must always watch and be ready.  As in the days of Noah, everyone was living his life as usual, eating and drinking, marrying, going to work, going to sleep at night, and they were all unaware until suddenly the flood came and took them away.

That’s how it will be at the end of this world when Jesus comes back and gathers His church.  Then, two will be working by each other, and very suddenly, one will be taken and the other left.  Jesus takes his church and leaves behind those who refused Him.  And because Jesus has warned us in what He says here in Matthew 24 and what He says through His prophets, like Daniel, John in Revelation and others, we need not be caught off-guard by His return.

For those who are not Christians:  If you have read this far and have not accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, then please know that everyone is accountable to God Who made us.  There is only one Way to God, and that is through His Son Jesus, alone.  Whether you believe or not, one of two people will pay for your sins:  either you or Jesus.  That’s why Jesus came into this world, God in human form, and gave His innocent, sinless life on the cross, because of His great love for us.  It was to pay the price for sin that none of us could ever pay, to redeem the lost and remake the bridge between God and man that Adam broke.

Seek Jesus today, while you still can.  If you seek Him, you will find Him.  Grab a Bible and read it.  What you need to know is in there.

Original here