Incredibly inspirational and thought-provoking interview with Ravi Zacharias and Nicky Gumbel.
Posts Tagged ‘Truth’
Deepak Reju at Grace & Truth shares a helpful list of ways that Satan delights in seeing a couple’s marriage fall apart. It’s a helpful list because, as the old saying goes, to be forwarned is to be forearmed. He writes…
According the Bible, Satan prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), but many times, he probably doesn’t have to do that much. I wonder if sometimes Satan sits back and laughs at us.
Marriage can be extremely messy. As sinners we can do dumb things in marriage—we hurt one another; we make false assumptions and then miscommunicate; we manipulate or say mean things to our spouse; we think less about serving and more about being served. We don’t always follow God’s Word or advice from godly leaders. We put our hopes in the world or each other more than we put hope in God.
We don’t need Satan to ruin our marriage. We do plenty of unhelpful things on our own to ruin our marriages. I’m sure Satan enjoys having a front row seat, watching our folly and foolishness.
What does he see?
Click here to read his list.
Posted in Daily Devotional, Encouragement for Today, Grace and Truth, Prayer for Today, tagged A.W. Tozer, Devotions, Encouragement, Encouragement for Today, Fred Smith, Grace, Grace and Truth, Truth on September 11, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truthcame through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. (John 1:14-18)
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it, the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw night to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thought and kindled affections, we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (taken from The Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home, 1965)
To Know God is to Love Him by A.W. Tozer
God is love, and is for that reason the source of all the love there is. He has set as the first of all commandments that we love Him with all our hearts, but He knows that the desired love can never originate with us. We love him, because he first loved us, is the scriptural and psychological pattern. We can love Him as we ought only as He inflames our minds with holy desire. Yet there is also a love of willing as well as of feeling. Though we may not be conscious of any great degree of inward sensation, we may set our wills to love God and the feeling will come of itself. Let us bring ourselves under obedience to His revealed Word and our love for Him will grow. Obedience will strengthen faith and faith will increase knowledge. And it is a well-known law of the spiritual life that our love for God will spring up and flourish just as our knowledge of Him increases. To know Him is to love Him, and to know Him better is to love Him more. (Taken from the Tozer Devotion website)
Points to Ponder by Fred Smith (Taken from Breakfast with Fred)
The Power of Possessions
My friend and mentor Maxey Jarman wrote a long memo to me responding to a question I posed about the loss of “things.” His summarized it: “A time of reversal and loss is a good time for a person to take stock of himself to see what he really wants out of life, whether he wants things that have eternal value, real value, or whether he particularly wants to have the kind of things that the world puts great value on.” He experienced great financial reversal, yet saw the blessing. Things were temporal; he built on the eternal.
In preparation for a men’s retreat on excellence, I thought about the power of possessions and asked myself and the group the following questions:
- Am I obsessive about things, being either materialistic or antimaterialistic?
- Do I use things as an escape from boredom?
- Do I substitute things for accomplishment?
- Am I able to “sit loose to things,” as Chambers says?
- Is my view temporal or eternal?
- What do things symbolize for me?
- Am I accumulating things that appreciate or depreciate?
- Does my anticipation of acquisition match my enjoyment?
- How often do I use things to impress others?
- How do I define the Christian view of possessions?
- What traditions am I building as a legacy?
- Do I acquire by plan or by impulse?
- How do I define my lifestyle?
- How high a price will I pay to be accepted?
- Would I sacrifice excellence for wealth?
- How would I respond if I lost everything?
This week carefully consider: 1) Which question made me stop? 2) What is my relationship to things? 3) Where is my security?
Words of Wisdom: “Things were temporal; he built on the eternal.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19 NET Bible)
Exodus 7:8-13 – The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,  “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”  So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.  Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:  Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.  Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
Exodus 7:20-22 – Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood.  The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.  But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
Acts 16:16-18 – Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
I have never quite understood how the magicians of Egypt could perform the same miracles as Moses and Aaron… at least a few of them. Well, we know that they weren’t exactly the same, but they fooled enough of the people enough of the time so that they were considered the same.
Let me back up. The Scene: Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh and his court. Just after Aaron threw his staff to the ground, it became a snake. That would have impressed me. But it didn’t impress Pharaoh. What did he do? He summoned his wise men and sorcerers and magicians to do the same thing. And they did. Well…sort of. Aaron’s staff ate all of their staffs. God’s little way of reminding folks who’s sovereign and who’s not.
Then there was the scene at the Nile River. It was there that Moses and Aaron turned the Nile’s water into blood. Gross. That would get my attention. Not Pharaoh. He rounded up his FX artists again and, just like before, they did the same thing as Moses and Aaron.
This isn’t confined to just the Old Testament. In the New Testament we learn of a slave girl “who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.” And like so many of the demons who recognized who Jesus really was, this slave girl’s “spirit” understood that Paul and company were “servants of the Most High God,” and were telling the people “the way to be saved.”
In one sense it was good that she (or rather, her spirit) recognized who Paul and his companions were. But at the end of the day, it was still a demonic spirit and, by definition, was up to no good. That’s why Paul cast the spirit out of the girl in the name of Jesus Christ.
Not all that glitters is gold. Not all miracles are of God. Not all spirituality is Christian spirituality. Not all visions are from God. We make a grave error indeed when we assume, undiscerningly, that signs and wonders are automatically from God. Too much in God’s Word tells us otherwise.
That’s why humility is key here. We have to have a teachable spirit. We have to obey God and his Word. Scripture alone must be our final, ultimate, and sufficient authority, not our experience and feelings. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:1,
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is wise counsel. And it’s the only sure way that we’ll stand firm to the end.
Grace and Truth,
Posted in Easter, Jesus Christ, Resurrection, Truth, Western Civilization, Worldview, tagged Apostleship of Prayer, Benedict, Easter, Jesus Christ, Pope, Resurrection, Truth, Western Civilization, Worldview on April 8, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in America, Christian History, Christian Living, Christian Witness, Christianity, Culture, Eternal Life, Ethics, Evangelism, Faith Once Delivered, Francis Schaeffer, Idolatry, Kingdom of God, Philosophy, Salt and Light, The Church, Truth, Western Civilization, Worldview, tagged Culture, Ethics, Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live, Philosophy, Theology, Truth, Western Civilization, Worldview on March 27, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Apologetics, Christianity, Jesus Christ, Resurrection, Truth, Worldview, tagged Apologetics, Christianity, Fact, Jesus Christ, Reasonable Faith, Resurrection, Truth, William Lane Criag, Worldview on March 18, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Apologetics, Atheism, Heaven, Hell, Truth, Western Civilization, Worldview, tagged Apologetics, Atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Doug Wilson, Heaven, Hell, Truth, Unbelief, Worldview on December 16, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Boys, Christian Living, Manhood, Manliness, Men, Men's Issues, Men's Ministries, Sanctification, Satan, Secrets, Spiritual Warfare, Truth, tagged Boyhood, Kenny Luck, Manhood, Mike Yorkey, Sanctification, Satan, Secrets, Stephen Arterburn, Truth on September 20, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
10.) You lose out on the support God provides in the body of Christ.
9.) You lose confidence spiritually.
8.) You lose the ability to develop self-control, and you repeat the cycle of sin.
7.) You lose fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
6.) You lose your connection with the truth.
5.) You lose credibility with others.
4.) You lose intimacy with your family.
3.) You lose intimacy with others (it’s not the real you).
2.) You lose days, weeks, months, even years of joy and peace.
1.) You lose intimacy with God.
From Every Young Man God’s Man: Confident, Courageous, and Completely His by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Mike Yorkey
Posted in Baxter Boys, Christian Witness, Dale Tedder, Discernment, Discipleship, Doctrine & Theology, Men's Ministries, Pastoral Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Shepherding, Truth, United Methodist Church, Worldview, tagged 1 Timothy and Titus, Al Mohler, Dale Tedder, Doctrine, Guard the Truth, John Stott, Pastoral Theology, Shepherding, Theology, Truth, United Methodist Church, Worldview on June 9, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
As I mentioned yesterday, the men’s weekly discipleship ministry at our church began a new study this week. We are studying 1 Timothy and Titus and using a great study guide by John Stott. Stott’s commentary on the same two epistles is entitled, Guard the Truth. It’s no surprise why it’s named that. Here are a few texts that help make the point…
1 Timothy 1:3-4 - As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer  nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith.
1 Timothy 3:14-15 - Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 - The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 - If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,  he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions  and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 - Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,  which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.
Titus 1:9 - He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
These are just a few of the more obvious texts on the necessity (indeed, the command) of guarding the truth, though plenty more could be cited. That got me thinking about what I shared with our men this past Monday and Wednesday. I told them that there doesn’t seem to be a high premium on truth in the church today. This is a given outside the Church. But it should not be so inside the Church. We wink way too much on things that probably ought to be dealt with.
Of course, this isn’t to say that we ought to appoint “thought police” to start arresting folks who don’t “think like us.” Nor does it mean that every issue is worth fighting over. There are some things, secondary things, that godly people can disagree over and still not reject the authority of God’s Word and the central doctrines of the faith.
I’ve often shared with folks that when I graduated from seminary I wanted to debate every last detail of every last doctrine. As I have gotten older, and hopefully matured some, I find that the list of things that I care about debating has drastically shrunk. However, the things that I hold dear are not just worth debating… they are worth dying over. (Hopefully that bit of hyperbole will not be taken too literally or understood that I’m going to launch a Crusade when folks disagree with what I hold dear. Instead, I hope it means that I’ll joyfully die to myself, receive scorn or contempt from others, and do all I can to lovingly and graciously teach, preach, defend, and live such precious truths.)
Last week I attended the ordination service of the new pastors of the United Methodist Church in Florida. Here’s an excerpt or two from the service of the ordination of elders…
“Remember that you are called to serve rather than to be served, to proclaim the faith of the church and no other, to look after the concerns of God above all.
“Do you believe in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
“Are you persuaded that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain all things necessary for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and are the unique and authoritative standard for the church’s faith and life?
“Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline, defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word, and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you, and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry.”
I’m proud to say that, at least on paper, my denomination cares about the truth of God’s word… so much so, that ordained clergy are tasked with preaching, teaching, defending, and living it. One of the best parts about attending the ordination service each year is that God reminds me of my calling and vows. He reminds me that we in our day, as Jude pointed out in his day, are heralds and guardians of the faith once delivered to the saints. I look forward to exploring 1 Timothy and Titus with my brothers in Christ to learn about how I/we might do that better.
Someone who is an eloquent and ardent guardian of the faith is Al Mohler. He routinely brings things to light that many of us may miss if we’re not up-to-date on all the newest books and articles. His newest article masterfully critiques a recent book that seems to be a full-blown attack on the very truth that Paul encourages Timothy and Titus to guard with their very lives. Here’s an excerpt…
“Most Christians assume that Christianity is the one and only religion that is God-inspired and that carries the imprimatur of God’s blessing,” laments R. Kirby Godsey. In his new book, Is God a Christian?, Godsey sets out to oppose that assumption and to argue that “the stakes for mankind have grown too high for any of us to engage our faith as if our understanding of God represents the only way God’s presence may be known in the world.”
The great question of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is necessarily bound up with the most central teachings of the Christian faith, which is why an argument like this must be considered so carefully. A closer look reveals that Godsey is not merely calling upon Christians to reconsider how we define and defend the Gospel — he is calling for a total reconstruction of everything that Christianity represents.
Click here to read the whole article. It’s an important piece to read.
Grace and Truth,