Seeking God

Nearness of God – O my spirit, pull back into yourself and, overlooking all things, drive forward in looking for God with all the friendship of your heart.

Reflection

“At all you do in word or in work, do all for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, expressing gratefulness to God and the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:17). We should look for God, amid the hours recommended for petition, as well as in every one of the demonstrations and occupations of life. Jesus said in such manner, “We should dependably to supplicate” (Luke 18:1). There are vocations and contacts with animals required by the obligations of our state throughout everyday life; these are articulations of God’s will, and we ought not surmise that we should stay away from them so as to look for Him. On the off chance that they are managed precisely as indicated by God’s will, these contacts with others can never, of themselves, be deterrents to the association of our spirit with God. Be that as it may, we should dependably keep ourselves inside the cutoff points of God’s will. At the end of the day, in our contacts with animals and in our different exercises, we should have however one end in view, the satisfaction of our obligations. At the point when, actually, the “fondness” of our will fixes itself upon such things, looking for in them a little close to home fulfillment, satisfying our interest or our common want for friendship, endeavoring to pick up acknowledgment for ourself or searching for regard from others, at that point our will strays far from the way of God’s will; our heart winds up connected to animals, and in this manner meets a genuine deterrent—the best—to its consistent looking for God. St. John of the Cross explicitly necessitates that we “go forward from everything as per the friendship and will” (Spiritual Canticle 1,6). He requests not just the separation that is material withdrawal from the world, however significantly more, the unit of the heart.

Dialogue

As the parched stag pants for the spring of living water, so does my heart ache for You, O God. My spirit craves You; it wants, looks for and needs only you.

“O merciful and adoring Lord of my spirit! You likewise say: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that thirst and I will offer you to drink.’ O Life, who giveth life to all, deny me not this valuable water which You have guaranteed to the individuals who want it. I want it, Lord, and I request it and I come to You: conceal not Yourself from me, Lord, for You know my need and how this water is genuine medication for the spirit You have injured… . O living streams, issuing from the injuries of my God! How bounteously do you ever stream for our help and how securely will one go through the risks of this hopeless life who can draw sustenance from this awesome water!” (Teresa of Jesus Exclamations of the Soul to God 9).

Just You, O Lord, can fulfill my spirit’s hunger for incomparable truth, vast philanthropy, and everlasting excellence. At the point when my heart winds up settled upon any made thing, looking for a little fulfillment in it; when it gives itself a chance to be taken up, even to a slight degree, by some natural love, and without watchfulness moves toward becoming submerged in the business and considerations of life, soon it needs to pull back from them, fatigued and depleted, unfilled and mistreated. O Lord, make in me an unadulterated, upstanding heart which looks for You generally and no matter what; set all together philanthropy inside me, with the goal that my affections and wants may remain continually coordinated toward You.

“Who can free himself from base and mean ways, if Thou, O my God, wither not lift him up to Thee in unadulterated love? In what manner will a man raise himself up to Thee, for he is brought up in wretchedness, if Thou shrivel not lift him up with the hand that made him?… Thou wither not detract from me, O my God, what Thou hast once given to me in Thy just sired Son, Jesus Christ, in whom Thou dost give me all I want. I will accordingly celebrate, Thou wither not delay in the event that I sit tight for Thee. Hold up in expectation, at that point, O my spirit, for from consequently thou mayst love God in thy heart.

“The sky are mine, the earth is mine, and the countries are mine; mine are the fair, and the delinquents are mine; mine are the heavenly attendants, the Mother of God, and everything is mine: God Himself is dig and for me, since Christ is mine, and for me. What dost thou, at that point, request, what dost thou look for, O my spirit? All is thine, all is for thee, don’t take less, nor rest with the pieces which tumble from the table of thy Father. Go forward and celebrate in thy magnificence, conceal thyself in it, and cheer, and thou shalt acquire every one of the wants of thy heart” (John of the Cross Spiritual Maxims I (Words of Light), Prayer of the Enamored Soul).

The Fact About Spiritual Growth

Individuals normally enter profound heading with the end goal to encounter otherworldly development. It’s an intense thing to check since profound encounters shift extraordinarily. Be that as it may, every so often it’s critical to think back and think about where and how otherworldly development has occurred.

The more you are profound way, the less demanding it is for both you and your executive to assess this. I incline toward the direction be the person who names what they have seen occurring in them because of their work profound way. It very well may be useful, be that as it may, for chiefs to specify — now and again — what they see in the method for individual change.

This is what to search for:

Proof of “product of the Spirit.” Paul named a couple of these in his letter to the Galatians (5:22, 23): love, euphoria, harmony, tenderness, goodness, confidence, docility and balance. At the point when a man turns out to be more mindful to the Spirit, they display a greater amount of these attributes.

A warm, cherishing, confiding in association with God.

Warm, adoring, confiding involved with others.

Sympathy for the requirements of the individuals who are poor, persecuted and pariah. Connecting with them in friendliness. An energy for equity and harmony.

Harmony between the inward, thoughtful life and the external, other-centered life.

A picture of God that is in accordance with the Psalmist’s naming of God as “benevolent, kind, ease back to outrage and possessing large amounts of enduring affection.”

Acumen turning into a lifestyle.

Profound development can be hard to achieve. Inward mending irritates our existing conditions. A few people trust otherworldliness will make a rich and agreeable life significantly more so — at that point, they’re amazed or disheartened to find that drawing nearer to God sparkles a light on parts of themselves that need to change. It is difficult to consider ourselves to be we are and realize that an association with God won’t enable us to effortlessly remain as we seem to be. Profound executives are prepared to be tolerant and sit with you as you build up this new mindfulness.

The profound life is from multiple points of view as real life — loaded with developing torments. The uplifting news of otherworldly heading is that the torment isn’t unending and the recuperating that originates from having a legitimate association with God prompts the sort of development that mends ourselves as well as the world.

Getting Into The Peace: Self-Forgiveness

 

FreedomIt is simple here on Sunday to go into that place inside where you are totally cherished, totally settled, where there is no space for that past stuff, simply love—feeling complete unequivocal love. It’s dependably there. The issue is arriving on Monday, with the general population at the workplace and with family. How would we arrive, with all the blame we convey for what we’ve done even long back? Self-absolution! When we get to self-absolution we can get to the peace.

Have you at any point seen that peace and blame don’t go together? When we have blamed it’s the point at which we have seen the universe as out of adjusting. Jesus instructed, “…forgive us our wrongdoings, as we have excused the individuals who sin against us… Be that as it may, on the off chance that you decline to pardon others, your Father won’t excuse your wrongdoings.” In this, “the Father above” means the awesome power we each have inside to give up or to hold tight! It’s our capacity, our decision.

Charles Fillmore composed the book Prosperity and said that interfacing with the obligation is a sentiment of being out of adjusting. On the off chance that we cling to it, we get (have) it. In the event that we let go, we break up that thought inside us. There was a legal advisor with a few generous bills owed him. Each time he contemplated the account holders, he stated, “gracious, I am out of adjusting” and after that, he’d consider them to be entire and finish. In a shockingly brief time, around the same time, he got a check from each ponying up all required funds! For what reason did it happen? Since it never again was genuine inside him. How would we do it?

I have a dear companion who had a great deal of blame that his liquor abuse had harmed such a significant number of. We discussed how the celestial nearness of affection will recuperate and discharge. Be that as it may, his youth encounter had not been about a God of adoration. He could consider it, however, he couldn’t feel it. Furthermore, in his family, he was dependable “not sufficient.” I inquired as to whether there wasn’t somebody in his life that simply cherished him. He stated, “My grandma cherished me as I might have been, for my entire life. ” So he envisioned her conveying her unqualified love to his blame, and his blame simply blurred away.

The ability to get love regularly came to us as the female. Envision that celestial ladylike/Grandma/Mom/unique individual/Infinite Love—has their arms around you. (Embrace yourself.) Relax into that sentiment of adoration. I am adored! Feel that brilliant nearness of affection (embracing yourself). There is no judgment at all. I am cherished! Acknowledge its blessing. I am free! That is what’s there, would it say it isn’t?!!

So on Monday when you stroll into the workplace and somebody begins their stuff (if the aerating and cooling is on, nobody will see you fold your arms on your chest) say to yourself, I am adored! I am free! Do it when you’re with the general population in your family that makes you fell blameworthy quicker than any other individual. This is seven days of self-absolution. I am adored! I am free! Appreciate it! Gesundheit!

 

Always Give Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of you I am sure to have heard of the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It tells the story of Captain Ahab’s relentless hunt for the great white whale Moby dick who had destroyed his ship and bitten off his leg. Ahab was obsessed with destroying the whale—his life revolved around his resentment, bitterness and the desire for revenge and it tarnished everything he did.

His bitterness had twisted him into a cruel and hateful person and the saddest thing about the book and bitterness, in general, is the fact that the real victim of Ahab’s bitterness and hatred was Ahab himself. His obsession had made him a most unhappy man and that is what bitterness will do to you. Do you know any bitter people? Those who have been wronged in some way in life and have allowed such to turn them into negative and critical people? Bitterness is a terrible thing for not only does it make us miserable, it makes those around us miserable.

Webster’s defines bitterness as an attitude unfriendliness, resentment, and animosity. Doris black said that if we fail to overcome our resentment and animosity, it will likely develop into bitterness. Bitterness is a malignant form of resentment and anger and it is capable of spreading rapidly until it affects every area of our lives. It causes us to become harsh, reproachful, unpleasant and unfriendly. Do you know anyone that this describes? Do you know any Christians that this describes?

Bitterness can be the result of someone doing us wrong and getting away with it. It can be brought about by someone achieving a success that we feel we deserve and have not yet attained. It is often the result of the feeling that life has somehow been unfair to us. Regardless of what causes it, bitterness can rob us of our joy for life and make us unbearable to be around.

Bitterness can prevent us from practicing kindness and forgiveness (Eph.4:30-32). It can destroy relationships with our families, friends, and brethren (Heb.12:14-15). And bitterness can cause us to put all of the focus in our lives on self (Jm.3:13-14). In the end, bitterness causes us to grieve the Holy Spirit, possess a heart of ingratitude, lack kindness, and compassion and be unwilling to forgive.

So how do we overcome and rid our lives of this extremely negative emotion? While there is much I could say, let me just suggest that you stop often to count your many blessings. “Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done. Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done. When it comes to the bitterness, anger, and resentment of the world, God has the solution, be thankful in all things.”

Let us never forget that regardless of what trial or difficulties we may be experiencing, we will always have a great deal for which to be thankful. It is like the man who said, “I was sad because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Whenever you start feeling bitter about your lot in life, how about you stop for a minute and think instead about all of the blessings God has bestowed upon you and give thanks in all things.

Thankfulness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The apostle Paul, and those writing in his name, often began their letters by saying, “I thank God for you…” The letters go on to describe the faith that has been shared and lived by those to whom the letter was first addressed. So too, I want to begin my letter

to you this month by saying, “I thank God for you.” Our church family has really pulled together over these last few weeks. With our building’s plumbing, bathrooms, and entrances in a bit of disarray, our church family pulled together! In a time of financial need, our church family has been stepping forward to help. When you think about “family” you know that it is times like these that bring out the best or the worst in people. In our case, it has brought out the very best! I am thankful for your patience, your flexibility, and your good humor. Soon, the nursery, Legacy and the surrounding bathrooms will be reopened with a fresh coat of paint and even some new furniture. Soon, the floor will be repaired and the glass doors on Carroll Street will be reopened. The plumbing crisis will be behind us. Yet, the memory of facing a crisis together and meeting the challenge will remain…and it will be a very good memory! When I think of our daughter, Beth’s ordination service, I will thank God for all of you for the rest of my life! This congregation stepped forward to provide a wonderful service of worship and praise

 

for both Beth Clementson and Don Myers. As we hosted people from around our synod and people from multiple chapters of the Clementsons’ life in the church, the love and hospitality of Grace Lutheran Church shone brightly. I want to say a special thanks to the four families who worked together to purchase the “new to us” organ in Grace Hall. The addition of this organ for the Ordination/Consecration Service will be a good addition for special worship services in the future as well. In this time of financial challenge, we want you to know that this purchase was made with special donations from members and friends over and above their regular giving. Church funds were not used in obtaining this new instrument. As we enter this month of November, a traditional time of thanksgiving in our nation, I invite us to say to one another, “I give thanks to you.” In addition to the upcoming holiday, we also will finally learn the results of Election Day this month. In whatever happens, whether your candidate is elected or not, let us give thanks for the opportunity to live in a nation where we have freedom of speech and on Election Day a safe and structured process. As Christian sisters and brothers, let us speak well of one another and in all things give thanks for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who leads the way to peace, freedom, and justice. I do truly give thanks to you!!!

Introduction to the Study of the Book of Acts

Introduction to the Study of the Book of Acts

 

Today begins a study of the book of Acts in this Daily Bible Study series. We’ll try to put the book of Acts in context to prepare us to take on the text.

The book of Acts was written within the lifetime of most of the eyewitnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those events occurred within the boundaries of Palestine about 2000 years ago. The birth of Jesus is dated between 4 and 6 BC, and his death AD 30 or 33.

Four emperors were on the Roman throne during the span that the book covers: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.

There are three main characters in the book, Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Many might argue that Jesus is not the main character but He is there in every chapter, every verse. Peter and Paul are carrying out His commission, they are preaching His Gospel. Jesus had commanded (1:8), “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The book of Acts is a small look into what was done in carrying out that command. It is the story that God wanted to be preserved. Peter was with Jesus throughout his entire ministry and was a witness to the baptism, transfiguration, arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. He was also witnessing to the miracles of Jesus and to His resurrection. Paul’s introduction to Jesus was on the road to Damascus where he was going to arrest Christians. He was a witness to the risen Lord there and immediately afterward determined to preach the resurrected Christ (Acts 9).

Antiquity tells us that Luke is the human author of the book as he is of the gospel account that bears his name. We would expect that someone close to the events of the book would write the record and Luke was a companion of Paul through much of his journeying. He had also taken upon himself to investigate closely the events to which he was not a witness (Luke 1:1-4). Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14) and scholars tell us that Luke often uses medical terms that are common to a physician.

This book serves as a pattern for Christians and searchers for truth today because of the path it outlines to heaven. The examples of conversion within its pages show how men and women became Christians under the preaching of the apostles and prophets. If we obey today what they obeyed then we’ll be saved today just as they were then.

Acts is a record of hardship that was endured by Christians for the faith. This was a testimony to the truth of the Gospel’s claims. Jesus’ ministry was an open one. Many of the events were public. Even the fact of the resurrection was witnessed by five hundred (1 Cor. 15:5) Christians at once. In the face of death sentences and hardship beyond imagination, the Gospel spread (Acts 5:29; 8:4) until Paul could say that every creature had heard (Col. 1:23).

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness

 

 

 

A querist asks, “Does God forgive people who do not ask? I have never seen where that happened. Should I forgive anyone who doesn’t ask?”

The Bible teaches that repentance has always been a prerequisite for forgiveness being granted by God (Psalm 51; Jonah 3:10; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 8:22; Acts 17:30; 2 Timothy 2:25; 1 John 1:9. Our Lord gives us the criteria for forgiving others who sin against us in Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.” We can certainly see clearly that asking for forgiveness coupled with repentance is necessary for forgiveness.

 

In Matthew 18:15-22, the Lord gives us instructions on how to deal with a brother who trespasses against us. In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but Until seventy times seven.”

The number, “seven,” was the most sacred number to the Hebrews, symbolizing God’s completion and perfection. In other words, as often as our brother repents and asks our forgiveness, we are to forgive our brother. The duty of forgiveness has no limit, save in the want of penitence in the offender. We should also remember that in no instance should a Christian harbor malice or retain resentment toward a sincere penitent offender (Colossians 3:13). We should have the loving attitude of our heavenly Father in this regard; when He forgives, He forgets (Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 10:17; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34).

 

The Evidence Of Divine Prophecy

The Evidence Of Divine Prophecy

 

Prophecy is foretelling an even in such detail before it happens so as to necessarily require divine guidance. The Bible is a book containing hundreds of detailed prophecies. There are, for example, well over sixty distinct predictions in regard to our divine Savior Jesus Christ. Not only were some these predictions made one thousand years before Christ came from heaven to earth, but regarding His crucifixion, they were made over five hundred years before crucifixion was first used anywhere in the world as a form of capital punishment! Crucifixion didn’t exist when the prophecies were made!

A scientist picked out forty-eight such prophecies and determined that the probability of one man randomly fulfilling them all is one in ten to the exponent of one hundred fifty-seven. That is “one” followed by one hundred fifty-seven series! Yet, Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies! In this article, let us look at sixty prophecies of Christ by subject categories and observe their fulfillment.

Concerning His Birth

1) Born Of The Seed Of a woman

Prophesied – Genesis 3:15
Fulfilled – Gal. 4:4

2) Born Of A Virgin

Prophesied – Isaiah 7:14
Fulfilled – Matthew 1:18-25

3) Seed Of Abraham

Prophesied – Genesis 22:18
Fulfilled – Matthew 1:1

4) Seed Of Isaac

Prophesied – Genesis 21:12
Fulfilled – Luke 3:23,34

5) Seed Of Jacob

Prophesied – Numbers 24:17
Fulfilled – Luke 3:34

6) Seed Of David

Prophesied – Jeremiah 23:5
Fulfilled – Luke 3:31

7) Tribe Of Judah

Prophesied – Genesis 49:10
Fulfilled – Rev. 5:5

8) Family Line Of Jesse

Prophesied – Isaiah 11:1
Fulfilled – Luke 3:32

9) Born In Bethlehem

Prophesied – Micah 5:2
Fulfilled – Matthew 2:1-6

10) Herod Kills The Children

Prophesied – Jeremiah 31:15
Fulfilled – Matthew 2:16-18

Concerning His Nature

11) He Pre-existed Creation

Prophesied – Micah 5:2
Fulfilled – 1 Peter 1:20

12) He Shall Be Called Lord

Prophesied – Psalm 110:1
Fulfilled – Acts 2:36

13) Called Immanuel (God With Us)

Prophesied – Isaiah 7:14
Fulfilled – Matthew 1:22-23

14) Prophet

Prophesied – Deuteronomy 18:18-19
Fulfilled – Acts 3:18-25

15) Priest

Prophesied – Psalm 110:14
Fulfilled – Hebrews 5:5-6

16) Judge

Prophesied – Isaiah 33:22
Fulfilled – John 5:22-23

17) King

Prophesied – Psalm 2:6
Fulfilled – John 18:33-37

18) Anointed By The Spirit

Prophesied – Isaiah 11:2
Fulfilled – Matthew 3:16-17

19) His Zeal For God

Prophesied – Psalm 69:9
Fulfilled – John 2:15-17

Concerning His Ministry

20) Preceded By A Messenger

Prophesied – Isaiah 40:3
Fulfilled – Matthew 3:1-3

21) To Begin In Galilee

Prophesied – Isaiah 9:1-2
Fulfilled – Matthew 4:12-17

22) Ministry Of Miracles

Prophesied – Isaiah 35:5-6
Fulfilled – Matthew 9:35; Matthew 11:4

23) Teacher Of Parables

Prophesied – Psalm 78:1-4
Fulfilled – Matthew 13:34-35

24) He Was To Enter The Temple

Prophesied – Malachi 3:1
Fulfilled – Matthew 21:10-12

25) Enter Jerusalem On Donkey

Prophesied – Zechariah 9:9
Fulfilled – Matthew 21:1-7

26) Stone Of Stumbling To Jews

Prophesied – Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22
Fulfilled – 1 Peter 2:6-8

27) Light To Gentiles

Prophesied – Isaiah 49:6
Fulfilled – Acts 13:46-48

The Day Jesus Was Crucified

28) Betrayed By A Friend

Prophesied – Psalm 41:9
Fulfilled – John 13:18-27

29) Sold For Thirty Pieces Of Silver

Prophesied – Zechariah 11:12
Fulfilled – Matthew 26:14-15

30) Thirty Pieces Thrown In Temple

Prophesied – Zechariah 11:13
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:3-5

31) Thirty Pieces Buys Potters Field

Prophesied – Zechariah 11:13
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:6-10

32) Forsaken By His Disciples

Prophesied – Zechariah 13:7
Fulfilled – Mark 14:27,50

33) Accused By False Witnesses

Prophesied – Psalm 35:11,20,21
Fulfilled – Matthew 26:59-61

34) Silent Before Accusers

Prophesied – Isaiah 53:7
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:12-14

35) Wounded And Bruised
Prophesied – Isaiah 53:4-6
Fulfilled – 1 Peter 2:21-25

36) Beaten And Spit Upon

Prophesied – Isaiah 50:6
Fulfilled – Matthew 26:67-68

37) Mocked

Prophesied – Psalm 22:6-8
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:27-31

38) Fell Under The Cross

Prophesied – Psalm 109:24-25
Fulfilled – John 19:17; Luke 23:26

39) Hands And Feet Pierced

Prophesied – Psalm 22:16
Fulfilled – John 20:24-28

40) Crucified With Thieves

Prophesied – Isaiah 53:12
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:38

41) Prayed For His Enemies

Prophesied – Isaiah 53:12
Fulfilled – Luke 23:34

42) Rejected By His Own People

Prophesied – Isaiah 53:3
Fulfilled – John 19:14-15

43) Hated Without Cause

Prophesied – Psalm 69:4
Fulfilled – John 15:25

44) Friends Stood Aloof

Prophesied – Psalm 38:11
Fulfilled – Luke 22:54; Luke 23:49

45) People Wag Their Heads

Prophesied – Psalm 22:7; Psalm 109:25
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:39

46) People Stared At Him

Prophesied – Psalm 22:17
Fulfilled – Luke 23:35

47) Cloths Divided And Gambled For

Prophesied – Psalm 22:18
Fulfilled – John 19:23-24

48) Became Very Thirsty

Prophesied – Psalm 22:15
Fulfilled – John 19:28

49) Gall And Vinegar Offered Him

Prophesied – Psalm 69:21
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:34

50) His Forsaken Cry

Prophesied – Psalm 22:1
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:46

51) Committed Himself To God

Prophesied – Psalm 31:5
Fulfilled – Luke 23:46

52) Bones Not Broken

Prophesied – Psalm 34:20
Fulfilled – John 19:32-36

53) Heart Broken

Prophesied – Psalm 69:20; Psalm 22:14
Fulfilled – John 19:34

54) His Side Pierced

Prophesied – Zechariah 12:10
Fulfilled – John 19:34,37

55) Darkness Over The Land

Prophesied – Amos 8:9
Fulfilled – Luke 23:44-45

56) Buried In Rich Man’s Tomb

Prophesied – Isaiah 53:9
Fulfilled – Matthew 27:57-60

His Resurrection And Ascension

57) Raised From The Dead

Prophesied – Psalm 16:8-11
Fulfilled – Acts 2:24-31

58) Begotten As Son Of God

Prophesied – Psalm 2:7
Fulfilled – Acts 13:32-35

59) Ascended To God

Prophesied – Psalm 68:18
Fulfilled – Ephesians 2:8-10

60) Seated Beside God

Prophesied – Psalm 110:1
Fulfilled – Hebrews 1:3,13

Conclusion

Today, the only way Bible scoffers can explain away this astronomical probability is to discredit the prophecies in one way or another. Their only alternative is to accept that God is the author of the Scriptures. The Bible is a reliable book of genuine divine prophecy – We can trust it!

The evidence of divine prophecy presented in this article is just a tiny portion of the “proofs” available to establish the divine origin of the Bible. Yet, they are more than sufficient to prove the inspiration of the Bible. There will always be men who scoff at the Bible. As Christians, however, we can be confident when we read our Bibles that God is definitely the Author, as it is written:

“We constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Related Article:

  • Principles Of Bible Prophecy

The Reality of God’s Ultimate Authority

 

 

John’s account of Jesus’ death is so profound, meaningful and convicting. And each time I read it I seem to learn something new.

This morning I shared this passage with the folks at Sycamore Healthcare center.

1Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:1-11

Many of the folks at Sycamore struggle with extremely difficult physical and/or mental circumstances. This morning I tried to encourage with the idea that through it all, God has the ultimate authority over their lives and they should try to rest in the peace of that reality.

Sometimes preachers can be pretty dense. I have been ignoring that reality when it comes to one specific part of my life. And because I have been avoiding accepting God’s total authority as reality, I have been robbing myself of peace.

Here’s what I am talking about. Ever since my last ministry, I have had a deep burden in my heart to unite and mend where we have separated and broken. I have tried to do that by changing peoples’ attitudes. Not their opinions or minds, just their attitudes.

Recently I have been getting so frustrated and discouraged by the way people attitudes have led them to act. In other words, I was starting to feel like I have not made a difference and the past three years have been a waste. Because of that, I have questioned God’s plan and why He has traveled us on our road. Sharing that passage today with my friends at Sycamore reminded me of my place and how significant I could be if I would only embrace how insignificant I actually was. Jesus understood and accepted the reality that all authority originates and resides with God. That’s why He was able to maintain such peace – even in the face of a terrible death.

God reminded me of this reality today. I will keep plugging away at changing people’s attitudes. But I have been reminded that God alone holds the key to every lock – particularly the ones that people use to guard their hearts. Is there a place in your life where you need to more firmly embrace the reality of God’s ultimate authority?

What Must the Church of Christ Do to be Saved?

 

 

 

The following is a post by Jay Guin on his blog, One in Jesus. I do not know Jay Guin personally. Based on his blog, I believe that he and I may some differences of opinion on some other the specific details of our faith. But one thing in particular that we are in complete agreement on is the necessity to ask difficult questions and challenge our beliefs. To that end, his writings have a been a tremendous blessing for me. You can read the original blog here.

We’re working our way through Leroy Garrett’s book: What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The paperback is $7.95, but it’s also available in Kindle edition for $0.99. For $0.99, it’s really an offer you can’t refuse!

Now, by “saved” Garrett doesn’t mean that he questions the salvation of the individual members of the Churches of Christ. Rather, he is concerned to save the Churches of Christ as a “viable witness to the Christian faith. What must it do to escape extinction in the decades ahead …?”

The comments in this series have largely focused on the baptism question — which is inevitable given that Garrett is urging us to fellowship denominations other than the Churches of Christ. The comments follow very much along the traditional lines, and I’d urge us to think of the question in some different ways. After all, people have long ago stopped listening to the traditional arguments — on both sides.

First, many denominations baptize believers by immersion for the remission of sins. We are not alone in this respect at all.

The independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, of course, share our baptismal doctrine and practices — and yet many treat them as damned in their sins.

The Roman Catholics often baptize adult converts by immersion for the remission of sins, and they have always done this — although not always uniformly. European cathedrals typically have a separate baptistry that is designed for immersion. Recently, many (not all) American cathedrals have built baptistries for immersion.

The Eastern Orthodox have always baptized adult converts by immersion or dipping — except they do it three times — and theirs is also for the remission of sins.

All Baptists baptize by immersion, and some do so for a remission of sins. Yes, really. I know some personally. Not every pastor follows the denominational teaching and not every Baptist denomination adheres to Zwinglian teaching (the teaching that baptism is symbolic of grace previously received traces back to Zwingli).

The Wikipedia says,

Baptism by submersion is also practiced by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), although the faith does not suggest rebaptism of those who have undergone a different Christian baptism tradition. …

Seventh-day Adventists believe that “Baptism symbolizes dying to self  and coming alive in Jesus.” They practice full immersion baptism.

Anabaptists perform baptisms indoors in a baptismal font, a swimming  pool, or a bathtub, or outdoors in a creek or river. Baptism  memorializes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.[Rom 6] Baptism does not accomplish anything in itself, but is an outward  personal sign or testimony that the person’s sins have already been  washed away by the cross of Christ.

Also listed as practicing baptism by immersion are Christadelphians, Trinitarian Pentecostals, and various “Holiness” groups, Christian Missionary Alliance, Assemblies of God, and Oneness Pentecostals. The Plymouth Brethren baptize believers by immersion but take a position similar to the Southern Baptists as to its effect. The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel is also immersionist.

For denominations outside the Reformed/Calvinist tradition, baptism is almost always for the remissions of sins.

Now, if all these groups practice baptism of believers by immersion and most do so for the remission of sins, why don’t we treat any of them as part of “us”? — unless, of course, we are rank sectarians who believe that only those in the Churches of Christ are saved?

If we’re not a denomination and, rather, simply congregations of the church of Christ universal, why don’t we consider other churches that immerse for a remission of sins part of “us”? Indeed, why act as though we have a patent on correct baptismal theology and practice and no one else does it the way we do?

It seems that we’re looking for ways to damn all others. After all, we ignore all evidence to the contrary and we certainly have a bad habit of exaggerating the errors of other denominations while excusing our own. Read the comments in this series, if you doubt me. And that tendency sure seems to evidence a desire to be the exclusive place of salvation.

Oh, and there are lots of our former members who left the Churches of Christ and now worship as part of another denomination. They have perfectly good baptisms, too — by any standard. Are they damned? If a member of the Churches of Christ joins an instrumental Christian Church, is his baptism canceled?

Now I readily admit that many of those other denominations have errors in their teachings and practices. And we’ll take that question up shortly. But can we not at least admit that there are those in the denominations with baptisms that are just as good as ours? And that their converts come out of the baptistry 100%, totally, utterly saved?