Monday, December 31, 2012

Read Through the Bible

The Lord has blessed me with reading through His Word for many all began with a daily devotional from Our Daily Bread which had an Old Testament and a New Testament chapter(s) to read daily.  From there the Lord moved me into the Chronological Bible - for 5 years - which led to posts of my discoveries (shared in a forum during 2010).  Last year I used the 52 Weeks plan, this year, well, I am not sure. :-D
I have decided to *capture* my 2010 posts and re-run them here in an effort to archive them should the original site no longer be available.  I will detail the day and year in the Post Title.
I have inquired and was guided to the information below for resources on reading through the Bible...if you are currently using a program that is not listed, please share.  If you are not, or have never read through the Bible, may I encourage you to do so?  It has been an enormous blessing in my life, giving me insight and a deeper walk with the Lord.  There is a multitude of rich marrow to be sucked from the Word of God, each and every book has gleanings to be gathered.  Be encouraged to encourage others to hide the Word of God in their hearts.
Father, help us, Your children to read Your Word that we might know You more us to be diligent to study to show ourselves approved and to exhort our brethren.
Listings courtesy of Ligonier Ministries:
Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. — Psalm 119:105
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe this year you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading and instead spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below.

52 Week Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in a year, with each day of the week dedicated to a different genre: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan
Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

A Bible Reading Chart
Read through the Bible at your own pace. Use this minimalistic, yet beautifully designed, chart to track your reading over 2013.
Duration: Flexible | Download: PDF

Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
Four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan
Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Every Word in the Bible
Read through the Bible one chapter at a time. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testaments.
Duration: Three years | Download: PDF

Historical Bible Reading Plan
The Old Testament readings are similar to Israel’s Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament readings are an attempt to follow the order in which the books were authored.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System
Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the OT History and Prophetic books about one and a half times.
Duration: Ongoing | Download: PDF

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.
Duration: One or two years | Download: Website

Straight Through the Bible Reading Plan
Read straight through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Tabletalk Bible Reading Plan
Two readings each day; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.
Duration: One year | Download: PDFApp: Accessible in the Ligonier App (iPhone / iPad & Android)

The Legacy Reading Plan
This plan does not have set readings for each day. Instead, it has set books for each month, and set number of Proverbs and Psalms to read each week. It aims to give you more flexibility, while grounding you in specific books of the Bible each month.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF

Two-Year Bible Reading Plan
Read the Old and New Testaments once, and Psalms & Proverbs four times.
Duration: Two years | Download: PDF

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Pondering upon this verse:

Act 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 

John Gill's commentary on the verse:

And brought them out,.... Of the inner prison, to some part of the prison that was more free and open: 

and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? he treats them with great reverence now, and addresses them under a title and character of honour and respect; whom but a few hours ago he despised and abhorred, and perhaps knew no name bad enough for them; he now saw himself lost and perishing, and wanted their instructions, advice, and assistance; and as most persons under first awakenings are, so he was, upon the foot of works; thinking he must do something to procure his salvation, and desires to know what it was he must do, that he might set about it directly; and it may be he had heard what the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination had frequently said of Paul and Silas, that they were the servants of the most high God, and showed unto men the way of salvation, Act_16:17 and therefore he desires that they would acquaint him with it: his language shows, he was in earnest, and expresses great eagerness, importunity, and haste.

Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

And they said, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,.... Not with a bare historical faith, as only to believe that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, and that he was come in the flesh, and had suffered, and died, and rose again, and was now in heaven at the right hand of God, and would come again to judge both quick and dead, for there may be such a faith and no salvation; but so as to look unto him alone for life and salvation, to rely upon him, and trust in him; to commit himself, and the care of his immortal soul unto him, and to expect peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life from him; the answer is much the same our Lord returned to the Jews, when they asked, though not with the same affection and sincerity as this man, what they must do to work the works of God, John 6:28. 

And thou shalt be saved; from sin, and all its miserable effects and consequences; from the curses of the law, from the power of Satan, from the evil of the world, from the wrath of God, hell and damnation: this is to be understood of a spiritual and eternal salvation; for it is said, after that the jailer was inquiring about it, being terrified in his conscience with a sense of sin and wrath; and between believing in Christ, and being saved with an everlasting salvation, there is a strict and inseparable connection, Mark 16:16 though not faith, but Christ is the cause and author of salvation; faith spies salvation in Christ, goes to him for it, receives it from him, and believes unto it: 

and thy house; or family, provided they believe in Christ also, as they did, Acts 16:34 or otherwise there can be no salvation, for he that believeth not shall be damned.

Monday, December 24, 2012

10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Unscriptural

Courtesy of Chapel Library

“Christmas” is a word unknown in the Bible. It is private interpretation, no prophecy of the Scriptures—“...holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:20, 21). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Tim 3:16). Christmas is excluded from all the Scriptures. “But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8).

Christmas belongs to that “other gospel,” for Paul did not know of a gospel called Christmas. —and what does John say about adding to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18)?

Historical records in encyclopedias, which are available in any city library, and are noted for their authenticity and reliability, give us this fact: that Christmas is of heathen origin. It is traced back to sun worshippers and observed among the pagan nations. Many such pagan leaders birthdays were celebrated by the ancient Babylonians. All these pagan festivals originated in heathendom. Centuries later the birth of Christ was blended into this—called Christmas. We are warned by the Scriptures to “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer 10:2). But through ignorance, the church has learned it.

Various records show us that the blending of Christ's birth with Christmas came about through Catholicism. The Catholic Church claims authorship of choosing the name “Christ” to connect with their “mass.” Here we see that Christmas is of human invention, therefore not scriptural nor spiritual. Why will Christians follow the path of Catholicism? This church is portrayed in Revelation 17:5 where it says: “Upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” God brands this church as a mother of harlots. Will Christians follow such examples?

We have no Scriptural record that the disciples ever celebrated the birth of Christ. So we wonder why shall we? However history reveals that about the fourth century (A.D. 440) the Church at Jerusalem commenced to celebrate this day—following Catholicism. Then it also became more defiled with the pagan world, when this mother of harlots attached the name Christ to it and called it Christmas, and placed it in the month of December which has now for centuries been the traditional month of the year.

Adam Clark in his commentary writes: “We find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer and as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced and that consequently our Lord was not born on December 25th when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up.” Clark's reasoning on this subject sounds true and sensible.

Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence it will always remain unknown and is not to be remembered and celebrated. Paul says, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (II Cor 5:16). We understand Paul to mean that we are to know Christ spiritually and not according to the letter, or after the flesh, or as an infant, for this is of no value to us as spiritual life.

But notice—we are commanded to remember Him in his death, but no special day of the year is specified for this. He said: “Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you, this DO in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; I Cor 11:24).

To commemorate His death is scriptural, any day of the year will do—to commemorate his birth is nonscriptural whether you choose any day or the day December 25th.

Paul the apostle says: “God forbid that I should glory in anything except in the cross (not the birth) of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14Weymouth Trans). We find no salvation in the birth of our Lord, for Salvation was only made possible through his death. Our faith is in the cross, not in the birth.

The fact that there are only two incidents of birthday celebrations recorded in the Bible is evidently given for our warning and our learning, that we may know that the Lord has no pleasure in birthday  celebrations or anniversaries.

One of these above was Pharaoh's big ado and the final results were the chief baker got hung. Thus  ended the tragedy of a big special day (Gen 40:20,22).

The other incident was a big day for Herod and his celebration ended up in the beheading of John the Baptist (Mark 6:21-27).

And now for centuries this modern special day, called Christmas, is a similar day with numerous fatalities which usually ends the day in thousands of homes with untold misery, sorrow and grief.

By searching the Word of God we find that the birth of Christ, the shepherds, and the wise men have no connection with the day called Christmas whatever. Christmas is human invention, but Christ came into the world to save sinners. It has no comparison.

The wise men from the Far East came and gave their gifts to Jesus or rather to His mother for Him, not to one another as is being done by the unwise to this day. And this gift giving was not even on His birthday but a number of days afterwards. Also not in the stable but in the house. It is often quoted Jesus was born in a manger. This is not true. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. This story is so greatly misconstrued and a mass of conglomeration has accumulated in the minds of the people.

Annually the Yuletide season is overflowed with literature and greeting cards of untrue representations. We can observe pictures with the parents in the stable and three wise men in their presence giving gifts. The Bible is silent as to how many wise men there were. Then we also see these Yuletide cards with the shepherds out with their flocks and a star in the distance. Again the Bible has nothing to mention of a star among the shepherds.

Then again, we see other scenes with snow to beautify the scenery, that mystical god, the “Santa Claus lie,” connected with it. Thousands of people are confused by such false literature, simply because such cards and pictures are made to sell. Let the children of God have nothing to do with it.

Then we think of the untold sum of the Lord's money (Haggai 2:8) that is being spent for such foolishness of worthless and useless trinkets and toys of every description in connection with the eating and over-eating of nuts and candies, feastings on roast turkey and chicken, and all kinds of dainties. Much of it results in headaches and stomach disorders and other ailments which go with it. All this is outright heathendom and an insult to the Master and has no connection with the scriptural story of the Saviour's birth.

The partiality which is even exercised in the giving of gifts is another sign in failing to harmonize with scriptural principles. We do not object to the spirit of giving gifts, but why wait until the traditional month of December when often times other seasons of the year would be more practical. Also, too often, the method of giving fails to reveal the spirit of charity. The major method of giving is to those whom we expect to receive again in return. This is also entirely beside the Scriptures, and all such already have their rewards. Listen:

The greatest gift that ever was given to the world was Jesus Christ Himself—NOT as a babe but as a sacrificed Lamb, a crucified Saviour in the redemptive work to salvation. This is by far the greater gift than his birth, and the Lord God revealed a much greater concern in this redemption on the cross than as an infant in a manger. Nevertheless, we do not belittle his birth for it “was on this wise.”

The most essential part of our giving a gift is our all to Him in consecration, holiness and service. How foolish and even embarrassing does our method of giving look to the Lord Jesus? For instance, think of the inconsistency of us, giving Henry Jones a gift because John Brown has a birthday. But that is the way we use Christ when this special pagan feast day comes, then we give every Tom, Dick and Harry a present and our feeble mind is stirred, thinking we have done something great. Who gets the glory for all this? Certainly Christ does not. “Think on these things.”

REASON No. 10—
Why do we celebrate holidays, when the tenor of the Scriptures seems to be against it. Let's notice that Galatians 4:9-11 and Colossians 2:16 are absolute Scriptures pointing to the disapproval of all special holidays or new moons or sabbaths. Paul reproved the Galatians for turning back again to the weak and beggarly elements. He says, “Ye observe days, months, times and years, I am afraid of you...“ No doubt Paul had a vision of the inconsistencies of observing such special holidays by what the prophet Amos had in view of God's displeasure of Israel's festivals when He said: “I hate, I despise your feast days and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies” (Amos 5:21). It is our firm belief that God saw fit to annul all these special holidays with the ceremonial laws since Israel, also the Galatians, and now in our day and age, the people will blend so much traditions and idols to these holidays.

To this day God has not told us one jot to observe any special days except one: The Lord's Day.

How could any Christian Bible reader harbor the thought that Paul was encouraging any special days with the above reference? He writes that they were only a “shadow of things to come.” Let's not worship the shadow, since we can worship, in “Spirit and in Truth” the real sacrifice. God placed one day in seven as a “rest day” for us and to “keep it holy.” Why do Christians still desire to celebrate the shadow of a day called Christ-mass? Christ had nothing to do with it. Paul had nothing to do with it, neither any of the Apostles.

The only record we have is the Catholic Church has done this; and let the Church of God be free from Catholicism.

Our chief text is: “LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN” (Jer 10:2-3)—But many Christians have learned it. “BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO“ (Matt 19:8). “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psa 107:2).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seven Marks of False Teachers

Free Grace Broadcaster - Issue 205 - Fall 2008 - Apostasy - Thomas Brooks

The first character: False teachers are menpleasers. They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart: "Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isa 30:10).  "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer 5:30-31). They handle holy things with wit and dalliance (1) rather than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-undoers. They are like evil chirurgeons (2) that skin over the wound, but never heal it...False teachers are hell's greatest enrichers...Such smooth teachers are sweet soul-poisoners (Jer 23:16-17).

The second character: False teachers are notable in casting dirt, scorn, and reproach upon the persons, names, and credits of Christ's most faithful ambassadors. Thus, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy (Num 16:3). "You take too much state, too much power, too much honor, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than the others that you take so much upon you?" And so Ahab's false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying of him with blows for want of better reasons (1Ki 22:10-26. Yea, Paul, the great Apostle of the Gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers: "For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible" (2Co 10:10). They rather contemn him than admire him. They look upon him as a dunce rather than a doctor. And the same hard measure had our Lord Jesus from the Scribes and Pharisees, who labored as for life to build their own credit upon the ruins of His reputation. And never did the devil drive a more full trade this way than he does in these days (Mat 27:63). Oh! The dirt, the filth, the scorn that is thrown upon those of whom the world is not worthy...

The third character: False teachers are venters (3) of the devices and visions of their own heads and hearts. "Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart" (Jer 14:14). "Thus said the LORD  of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD" (Jer 23:16). Are there not multitudes in this nation whose visions are but golden delusions, lying vanities, brain-sick fantasies? These are Satan's great benefactors and such as divine justice will hang up in hell as the greatest malefactors., if the Physician of souls does not prevent it.

The fourth character: False teachers easily pass over the great and weighty things of both Law and Gospel and stand most upon those things that are of the least moment and concernment to the souls of men. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1Ti 1:5-7). "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Mat 23:23). False teachers are nice (4) in the lesser things of the law and as negligent in the greater. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself" (1Ti 6:35)...The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them (Mat 24:32).

The fifth character: False teachers cover and color their dangerous principles and soul-impostures with very fair speeches and plausible pretences, with high notions and golden expressions. Many in these days are bewitched and deceived by the magnificent words, lofty strains, and stately terms of deceivers, viz., illumination, revelation, deification, firey triplicity (5), etc. As strumpets paint their faces and deck and perfume their beds, the better to allure and deceive simple souls, so false teachers will put a great deal of pain and garnish upon their most dangerous principles and blasphemies that they may the better deceive and delude poor ignorant souls. They know sugared poison goes down sweetly. They wrap up their pernicious, soul-killing pills in gold. Weigh the Scriptures in the margin...

The sixth character: False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions than to better them in their conversations. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea  and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Mat 24:17). They busy themselves most about men's heads. Their work is not to better men's hearts and mend their lives. In this, they are very much like their father the devil, who will spare no pains to gain proselytes.

The seventh character: False teachers make merchandise of their followers. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not" (2Pe 2:1-3). They eye your goods more than your good and mind more the serving of themselves than the saving of your souls. So they may have your substance, they care not though Satan has your souls (Rev 18:11-13). That they may the better pick your purse, they will hold forth such principles as are very indulgent to the flesh. False teachers are the great worshippers of the golden calf (Jer 6:13).

Now, by these characters you may know them, and so shun them, and deliver your souls out of their dangerous snares; which that you may, my prayers shall meet yours at the throne of grace.

From "Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices" in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol 1, reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust.

Thomas Brooks (1608-1680): Congregational preacher and author; buried in Bunhill Fields, London, UK.

(1) dalliance - light, irreverent action.
(2) chirurgeons - surgeons.
(3) venters - those who utter or give vent to erroneous doctrines.
(4) nice - precise.
(5) triplicity - one of four groups of the zodiac where each group consists of three signs, separated from each other by 120 degrees.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Romantic Panentheism, a review of One Thousand Gifts

Romantic Panentheism,
 a Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
By Bob DeWaay

We live in a theological age (postmodern) where the rational and cognitive are questioned and replaced by the sensual and mysterious. Many churches promote the idea of worshipping God with all five senses. Feelings trump clear Biblical exegesis, systematic theology, statements of faith, and any other rational approach to Christian theology. Into this milieu comes a book that takes romanticism to a new level, using sensuality to invoke religious feelings and ostensibly true devotion. The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a Canadian farmer's wife.

Written entirely in the present tense, using an approach to the English language that takes numerous liberties for the sake of creating poetic feeling (like using adjectives when the rules of grammar demand an adverb and consistently having adjectives follow rather than precede the nouns they modify), Voskamp weaves a tale of discovering devotion to God through encounters with nature and art. In her experience, Voskamp found the secret to joy through what she calls eucharisteo("giving thanks" transliterated from the Greek).

My purpose is not to begrudge Voskamp her religious feelings, nor to disagree with the basic thesis that Christians ought to give thanks to God in all things, but to object to the panentheistic worldview revealed in the book and the romanticism that accompanies it. First we will explore those two ideas.


Panentheism is the belief that God is in everything. It is to be distinguished from pantheism that teaches that God is everything. The very popular Emergent movement is panentheistic as is New Age theology. Since God is in everything, then God can be discovered and understood through encounters with nature. Voskamp shows that she knows what is wrong with pantheism, but unwittingly (or perhaps not so unwittingly) replaces it with panentheism:

Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature.1

Her statement is not a valid implication from passages such as Psalm 19 and Romans 1 that speak of general revelation. For one thing, nature is fallen and does not reveal "all His glory" (Christ does that) and what can be discerned about God through nature is not saving knowledge, but condemning knowledge. Romans makes that clear:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.(Romans 1:20-23)

Pagan nature religions do not provide messianic salvation. Paul claims that salvation comes only through the gospel (which comes to us through special, not general revelation). The confusion between these two categories is shown throughout Voskamp's book. For example: "And every moment is a message from the Word-God who can't stop writing His heart" (Voskamp: 86). The pagans live in the same time-space world that we do and do not thereby have infallible, inerrant, and binding revelation from God. They live in darkness. Seeking messages from God through the moments in this world will lead to pagan mysticism and not anything that is clearly and bindingly revealed by God. Voskamp claims that the ability to see God in everything is the key to getting such messages.

Voskamp would likely recoil from the notion that she is promoting pagan nature religion or mysticism. But she does put Christians on the same footing as the pagans by taking them on a journey with her to find God in nature and art. The concepts about God that are distinctively Christian in her book are borrowed from special revelation (the Bible) and brought with her on her journey of discovery. But she never makes a distinction between general revelation and special revelation and by integrating the two so seamlessly, elevates nature to the status of saving revelation. Since God is supposedly in everything, then God can be found in everything.

Panentheism is found throughout One Thousand Gifts. Since so much of the current evangelical world is being seduced by panentheism, we need to understand what is unbiblical about it. Many are confused and think that panentheism is logical implication from the Christian concept of omnipresence (that God is everywhere). This confusion has left the door open for the New Age to enter the church. That God is not limited spatially (there is nowhere where He is not – Psalm 139:7-10) is a valid, Biblical concept. But panentheism describes an ontological, not spatial category. Ontology is the study of being. It is the study of what something is in its essential nature. Panentheism teaches that God's essence or being is in everything. This is not the doctrine of omnipresence (though it would affirm it). If God in His essence and essential being is found in everything, then there is nothing unique about Christ (which is precisely the New Age claim). Biblically, nature does not reveal God and His glory in the same way Christ does. Nature reveals God obliquely and only in a condemning, not saving, way. Christ reveals God in His divine nature and speaks God's inerrant words. Jesus spoke inerrant, binding words that will be our judge on the last day (John 12:48). The moon does no such thing.

Read more --> HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Is the Gospel

by R.C. Sproul

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

Monday, December 10, 2012

No Stiff Upper Lip, Please

Courtesy Bill Cain - Sovereign Grace Church

Psalm 119:28 - My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

One thing that instigates a destructive emotional breakdown is not allowing constructive emotional breakdowns beforehand.  Developing a 'stiff upper lip' can be disastrous to our emotional health.  It is hypocrisy before God to pretend that everything's alright when it isn't.

For the Christian, it's important to understand what should cause him depression. Things that are grievous to God should be grievous to us. A major part of our Christian maturity is coming in line with God emotionally.

But any sorrow we experience - even grieving in the flesh, contrary to the will of God - should still be brought before God:

Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and by petition with thanksgivings, let your requests be made known to God.

Any anxiety is a cause in itself for prayer, whether we should be experiencing the anxiety or not. Anything that weights our hearts down is a challenge to our joy in the Lord. Not that we should have no sorrow, but no sorrow should be a "distraction" (the literal Greek meaning of "anxious" in Philippians 4:6). If a sorrow keeps us from relating freely to God as our caring Father, it is a sorrow that is forbidden. And the very remedy is prayer.  'Turn the concern to a heavenly yearn.' By bringing our concern to God, we are automatically taking it out of the realm of a worry.  It may still be a sorrow, but it will be a sorrow sanctified to our good.

And that is what the psalmist is doing in the verse at the top.  He is confessing a deep sorrow and seeking God's strength for it. Many Christians wouldn't know how to bring such a sorrow before God.  They think God only wants to hear positive things.  Ignorance is a great destroyer.

Rather than bringing his strength to God, the psalmist brings his lack of strength.  O blessed lack of strength! But not many saints become so intimate with God that they are completely transparent before Him. Or else they don't know enough Scripture to hear how God answers when our pretenses are finally abandoned.

The Contrition Psalms (where sorrow is expressed) are a good place to train our minds and hearts to carry our sorrows to God.  Here's a starter list: Psalms 51, 143, 32, 6, 39, 130, 40, 25, 77. 38.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spurgeon Quote

"Before I dismiss you there is this one other sentence. You that love not Christ, recollect that you are the most miserable people in the world. Though you may think yourselves happy, there is no one of us that would change places with the best of you. When we are very sick, very poor, and on the borders of the grave, if you were to step in and say to us “Come, I will change places with you; you shall have my gold, and my silver, my riches, and my health,” and the like, there is not one living Christian that would change places with you. We would not stop to deliberate, we would give you at once our answer — “No, go your way, and delight in what you have, but all your treasures are transient, they will soon pass away. We will keep our sufferings, and you shall keep your gaudy toys.” Saints have no hell but what they suffer here on earth; sinners will have no heaven but what they have here in this poor troublous world. We have our sufferings here and our glory afterwards; you may have your glory here, but you will have your sufferings for ever and ever. God grant you new hearts, and right spirits, a living faith in a living Jesus, and then I would say to you as I have said to the rest — man, in whatsoever state you are, be content."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Emotional Porn

Courtesy of Sola Sisters

To my sisters in Christ, please consider the following questions:

(1) Is it an affair if a husband has a relationship with another woman that involves hugging and kissing, but no sex?

(2) How about a relationship with another woman where hugging is involved, but no kissing?

(3) What about a relationship that is emotional only, with no touching whatsoever?

Obviously, the answer to all 3 questions would be "yes," and any woman - secular or Christian - knows the common-sense answer to these questions.

We hold our husbands to these standards, and we're right to do so. We are also very quick to get all up in arms - and rightfully so - over the scourge of pornography that is ravaging our men - both secular and Christian. But what about us? Do we guard our hearts with all diligence so that they belong to our husbands alone?

The heart is where our sin begins. Now, worldly wisdom says just the opposite, that we should "follow our hearts!" to find happiness. But as Christians, we know that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things (Jer. 17:9). We don't follow our hearts; we follow the Lord as He reveals himself to us in his Word. What else does Scripture say about our hearts? Well, Jesus himself tells us that when we look with lust, it is as if we have already committed the act of adultery itself. Does this not communicate to us how very important it is to guard our hearts with all diligence (Prov 4:23)?

Which leads me to the topic that recently has been so troubling to me: why are so many of my sisters in Christ becoming enamored of the Twilight series? For now, let's forget that these books are occultic and demonic at their core (although I'll come back to that in a later post). The sensuality alone in these books and movies should make them totally off-limits for Christian women, and most certainly for teenage girls. If anything, Christian women need to be seeing these books rightly and warning their daughters to stay away from them, and why. Instead, I am hearing of instances of Christian women actually taking their daughters to these movies, and reading these books alongside them. Unbelievable!

My pastor recently taught on the topic of guarding the heart. He did not directly reference the Twilight books/movies, but he mentioned the genre of romance fiction, and how it impacts women. He first mentioned how many men get hooked on porn because they love the fantasy of a little kingdom where a woman is sexually/physically obsessed with them. But on the flip-side, women can get equally hooked on romances stories where the hero is emotionally obsessed with them. As men and women, our pleasure sectors are triggered by different things...but it's the same sin. We all just want to be little gods in our own universes and be worshiped.

This is not a small thing. This is idolatry and very sinful, because when we do this, we are "stealing" worship from God. All through Scripture, when angels show up, they're so magnificent that people often fall down in front of them and want to worship them, but the angels always stop them and say NO - worship is for God alone!

Sisters in Christ, I implore you, please view these books rightly, biblically, and put them away. We need to see these books for what they are and where they want to lead us, and repent and tear down these idols of the heart.