12/23/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Leave no doubt!


Leave no doubt!

We have to live with doubt not only because we lack sufficient information to come to a final conclusion about many 
things but also because we’re limited in our ability to process information and relate to life’s situations. That’s part of the human condition even for good and wise and caring people so we shouldn’t grovel in shame over it even though at times, depending on what’s at stake, we’re deeply saddened that we don’t know how best to help or respond.

But beyond that, there are those who tell us that we should profess uncertainty always in all circumstances about all things. This is nonsense as well as impossible. G.K Chesterton protested against that spurious humility when he looked around him and surmised that one of these days we’re going to be so humble that we’ll doubt that two plus two equal four.

To know something is not to know everything but it’s not to know nothing either! We can’t be sure of everything but it’s nonsense to say we can be sure of nothing! Caution and reserving judgement is healthy but too much “humility” is possible and saturating our speech on just about everything with phrases like, “of course, on the other hand” is a mental/social disease.

A know-it-all is a bore and often arrogant but the mealy-mouthed is tedious and often gutless

In a movie an American football coach is earnestly calling his team to wholehearted commitment to the game at hand and urges them to make it clear to their opponents that they had come out to engage in war, so to speak. His final word of instruction is: “Leave no doubt!”

Not everything that Christians believe is absolutely certain or clear but some things are and in these matters Christians should leave no doubt!

“There is one true God and it is the God that has revealed himself to us in and as Jesus Christ and we’re his followers!” Of that the Christian should leave no doubt.

Others don’t believe that and for one reason or another, or for many reasons, they cannot yet believe it; but that’s not to the point. These people aren’t Christians and they don’t profess to be.

Christians are to leave no doubt!

They’re not to apologise or to waver or to mumble; they’re not to equivocate! They’re not to suggest or imply or hint or guess or settle for “the preponderance of the evidence”. In this matter they’re not to act uncertain or to dither or vacillate

They’re to leave no doubt!

They may be wrong but if they’re wrong they aren’t a little wrong, they’re profoundly wrong! They’re not to have one eye on the biblical witness and one eye on the latest poll or what book’s in the best-seller list. They’re not to wring their hands or anguish in the night about what governments or courts will decide about how they can or must express their faith. They’re not to have one foot in the door of the church and the other dragging just in case they feel the need to beat a sheepish retreat; half-heartedness in this area is not permissible. They have no back doors to slip out of, no lawyer-like covering of their tracks to fall back on and if they’re wrong then of all the people in the world they’re the most pathetic.

Christians are to leave no doubt!

If they discovered their faith is false their dismay should be written all over them! They should be devastated and red-faced. They should make it known that if Jesus Christ is a fraud or a myth or if he was demented or misunderstood—if anything like that is true the Christians should make it known that their entire world has collapsed around them and that they’ve been hoodwinked in no uncertain manner.

Christians have no right to be insolent or scornful of others but neither do they have any grounds to beat around the bush or be evasive. We’re not gingerly “testing the Christian waters”; we're in over our heads. Our wholehearted confession is that Jesus is Lord and in him the one true God has unveiled himself and his eternal intentions regarding the human family.

This we believe and Christians should leave no doubt!

Is Faith "Infused" Directly by God? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=944

Is Faith "Infused" Directly by God?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to Catholic Catechism 153, “Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him.” Unlike other religious peoples who use Ephesians 2:8 as a proof text to teach (erroneously) that faith is a direct gift from God, Catholics base their view of infused faith on a statement Jesus made to Peter during His earthly ministry. Once, after Peter confessed to Jesus, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17). The Catholic Church believes that Jesus’ statement proves that faith is given directly and supernaturally by God. Faith comes, not from “flesh and blood,” but purportedly is “infused” directly by the Father above.
The central problem with the 153rd Catholic Catechism is that Jesus did not say that God gave Peter faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus stated that God “revealed” to Peter that Jesus was the Son of God. There is a difference between revealing to someone a truth (e.g., the deity of Christ), and compelling someone to believe that truth. If a teacher quizzes a class in preparation for a final exam, and, in the process, reveals every answer to the class that they need to know in order to score a 100 on the exam, one or more students still may fail. Students might fail because they chose not to take the exam. Some could fail because they did not take heed to the revelation of facts given by the teacher during the review session. Still others could fail simply because they deliberately wrote the wrong answers on the test, thinking it was fashionable to make low grades in school. Even though the teacher revealed all of the knowledge needed for every student in the class to make a perfect score on the exam, each student still had a choice as to whether he or she would act upon that knowledge wisely and ace the test.
Similarly, even though God revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Son of God, that does not mean that God directly infused faith into Peter. Faith is a commanded action on man’s part that comes after revelation, not before, or simultaneously (Acts 16:29-34; John 7:24; Romans 10:17). The Bible never speaks of faith as being given directly by God. Rather, it is self-developed following revelation from God. In Peter’s case, such revelation did not come from “flesh and blood” (Matthew 16:17; cf. 17:5). Today, biblical faith is developed by hearing or reading the written revelation from God—the Bible (John 20:30-31; Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

REFERENCES

Catechism of the Catholic Church, [On-line], URL: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c3a1.htm.

From Mark Copeland... Jesus Heals A Deaf-Mute Boy (Mark 9:14-29)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                 Jesus Heals A Deaf-Mute Boy (9:14-29)

INTRODUCTION

1. Coming down from the mount of transfiguration with His three
   disciples...
   a. Jesus finds His other disciples embroiled in controversy - Mk 9:14
   b. Surrounded by a multitude, disputing with scribes - ibid.

2. The controversy apparently involved a failed attempt to heal a
   deaf-mute boy...
   a. Who from childhood had been prone to seizures
   b. Whose father desperately wanted him healed
   c. Whom the disciples of Jesus had not been able to heal

[The account of this miracle is one of most detailed in the gospels.
From it we can learn valuable lessons, but must also be careful not to
misapply what is said.  Let's start by examining...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. THE FAILURE OF THE DISCIPLES...
      1. Jesus finds His disciples embroiled in controversy - Mk 9:14-16
      2. It appears related to their inability to heal a man's deaf-mute
         son - Mk 9:17-18,25
      3. Jesus chides His disciples for their lack of faith - Mk 9:19
      4. As the boy is brought to Jesus, he has a spirit-induced seizure
         - Mk 9:20
      5. The father describes how this has happened often since
         childhood - Mk 9:21-22
      6. The father begs for compassion if Jesus can help - Mk 9:22
      -- A chaotic scene, the disciples' frustration and father's
         emotions much in evidence

   B. THE SUCCESS OF THE SAVIOR...
      1. Jesus responds to the plea of the father - Mk 9:23-24
         a. If the father can believe, all things are possible
         b. The father professes faith, begs for more faith
      2. As the crowd draws closer, Jesus heals the deaf-mute boy - Mk 9:25-27
         a. The demon cast out with a great convulsion, leaving the boy
            dead-like
         b. Jesus takes the boy by the hand, lifting him up, and the boy
            rises
      3. Jesus privately informs the disciples as to the reason for
         their failure - Mk 9:28-29
         a. Jesus explains the need for prayer in a case like this
         b. Many manuscripts add the need for fasting as well
      -- The incident ends with a quiet teaching opportunity for His
         disciples

[The record of this miracle provides insight as to the role of faith,
prayer, and even fasting.  But we must be careful in how we understand
what Jesus is teaching.  With this in mind, we consider...]

II. THE APPLICATION

   A. CAVEATS...
      1. Avoid misapplication
         a. It can be tempting to take Jesus' words in isolation
         b. Especially "all things are possible to him who believes"
         c. Which some have taken literally, without exception
         d. Giving many people false hope, destroying faith in the
            process
      2. Consider context
         a. All things are possible, but must be within God's will - 1Jn 5:14
            1) E.g., Jesus in the garden - Mk 14:35-36
            2) E.g., Paul with his thorn in the flesh - 2Co 12:7-9
            3) As one brother put it:  "All things are possible, but
               they must be on the menu"
         b. Some things are not possible, when asked improperly
            1) For selfish and sinful reasons - Jm 4:3
            2) While not keeping God's commandments - 1Jn 3:22
      -- Jesus' words presume God's permission and our obedience

   B. PRINCIPLES...
      1. The importance of faith
         a. Faith cannot be underestimated - He 11:6; Mt 8:13; 9:22,29
         b. Such faith grows through the Word of God - Ro 10:17
         c. It certainly does not hurt to pray:  "Lord, I believe; help
            my unbelief!" - Mk 9:24
         d. But responses to faith are always subservient to God's will
            (cf. Paul's thorn)
      2. The power of prayer
         a. Our faith, while important, is not always sufficient
         b. God must be involved, for only with Him are all things
            possible - Lk 1:37
         c. Thus at time faith must be joined with prayer - e.g., Jm 5:14
         d. But also, responses to prayer are subservient to God's will
            - 1Jn 5:14
      3. The role of fasting
         a. Fasting was often joined with prayer to incur God's favor
            - Ezr 8:21-23
         b. Fasting served to humble oneself before God - Psa 35:13;
            69:10
         c. Such humility is more likely to incur God's favor - Isa 57:15; 66:1-2
         d. Thus people often served God with fasting and prayer - Lk 2:36-37; Ac 13:2-3
      -- Faith, prayer, and fasting working together can accomplish more
         if it be God's will

CONCLUSION

1. Many have misconstrued the words of Jesus...
   a. "If you believe, you will receive" (gospel of health and wealth)
   b. "If you can conceive it, you can achieve it" (power of positive
      thinking)

2. But they fail to take Jesus' words in the overall context of the
   Bible...
   a. What we seek must be in keeping with the Lord's will
   b. What we seek must not be for selfish purposes

3. On the other hand, many do not fully appreciate...
   a. The importance of faith in God
   b. The power of prayer to God
   c. The role of fasting in service to God

With the aid of the Word of God, we can better know what is in keeping
with His will.  Then we can better make use of our faith, prayer, and
fasting as we seek to do His will...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 23


Bible Reading  

December 23

The World English Bible



Dec. 23
Nahum 1-3

Nah 1:1 An oracle about Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
Nah 1:2 Yahweh is a jealous God and avenges. Yahweh avenges and is full of wrath. Yahweh takes vengeance on his adversaries, and he maintains wrath against his enemies.
Nah 1:3 Yahweh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Yahweh has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
Nah 1:4 He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers. Bashan languishes, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon languishes.
Nah 1:5 The mountains quake before him, and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, yes, the world, and all who dwell in it.
Nah 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the fierceness of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken apart by him.
Nah 1:7 Yahweh is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who take refuge in him.
Nah 1:8 But with an overflowing flood, he will make a full end of her place, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
Nah 1:9 What do you plot against Yahweh? He will make a full end. Affliction won't rise up the second time.
Nah 1:10 For entangled like thorns, and drunken as with their drink, they are consumed utterly like dry stubble.
Nah 1:11 There is one gone forth out of you, who devises evil against Yahweh, who counsels wickedness.
Nah 1:12 Thus says Yahweh: "Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so they will be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more.
Nah 1:13 Now will I break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds apart."
Nah 1:14 Yahweh has commanded concerning you: "No more descendants will bear your name. Out of the house of your gods, will I cut off the engraved image and the molten image. I will make your grave, for you are vile."
Nah 1:15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, Judah! Perform your vows, for the wicked one will no more pass through you. He is utterly cut off.
Nah 2:1 He who dashes in pieces has come up against you. Keep the fortress! Watch the way! Strengthen your waist! Fortify your power mightily!
Nah 2:2 For Yahweh restores the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel; for the destroyers have destroyed them, and ruined their vine branches.
Nah 2:3 The shield of his mighty men is made red. The valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots flash with steel in the day of his preparation, and the pine spears are brandished.
Nah 2:4 The chariots rage in the streets. They rush back and forth in the broad ways. Their appearance is like torches. They run like the lightnings.
Nah 2:5 He summons his picked troops. They stumble on their way. They dash to its wall, and the protective shield is put in place.
Nah 2:6 The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved.
Nah 2:7 It is decreed: she is uncovered, she is carried away; and her handmaids moan as with the voice of doves, beating on their breasts.
Nah 2:8 But Nineveh has been from of old like a pool of water, yet they flee away. "Stop! Stop!" they cry, but no one looks back.
Nah 2:9 Take the spoil of silver. Take the spoil of gold, for there is no end of the store, the glory of all goodly furniture.
Nah 2:10 She is empty, void, and waste. The heart melts, the knees knock together, their bodies and faces have grown pale.
Nah 2:11 Where is the den of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion and the lioness walked, the lion's cubs, and no one made them afraid?
Nah 2:12 The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his caves with the kill, and his dens with prey.
Nah 2:13 "Behold, I am against you," says Yahweh of Armies, "and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions; and I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers will no longer be heard."
Nah 3:1 Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery. The prey doesn't depart.
Nah 3:2 The noise of the whip, the noise of the rattling of wheels, prancing horses, and bounding chariots,
Nah 3:3 the horseman mounting, and the flashing sword, the glittering spear, and a multitude of slain, and a great heap of corpses, and there is no end of the bodies. They stumble on their bodies,
Nah 3:4 because of the multitude of the prostitution of the alluring prostitute, the mistress of witchcraft, who sells nations through her prostitution, and families through her witchcraft.
Nah 3:5 "Behold, I am against you," says Yahweh of Armies, "and I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.
Nah 3:6 I will throw abominable filth on you, and make you vile, and will set you a spectacle.
Nah 3:7 It will happen that all those who look at you will flee from you, and say, 'Nineveh is laid waste! Who will mourn for her?' Where will I seek comforters for you?"
Nah 3:8 Are you better than No-Amon, who was situated among the rivers, who had the waters around her; whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was of the sea?
Nah 3:9 Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength. Put and Libya were her helpers.
Nah 3:10 Yet was she carried away. She went into captivity. Her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets, and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.
Nah 3:11 You also will be drunken. You will be hidden. You also will seek a stronghold because of the enemy.
Nah 3:12 All your fortresses will be like fig trees with the first-ripe figs: if they are shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater.
Nah 3:13 Behold, your troops in your midst are women. The gates of your land are set wide open to your enemies. The fire has devoured your bars.
Nah 3:14 Draw water for the siege. Strengthen your fortresses. Go into the clay, and tread the mortar. Make the brick kiln strong.
Nah 3:15 There the fire will devour you. The sword will cut you off. It will devour you like the grasshopper. Multiply like grasshoppers. Multiply like the locust.
Nah 3:16 You have increased your merchants more than the stars of the skies. The grasshopper strips, and flees away.
Nah 3:17 Your guards are like the locusts, and your officials like the swarms of locusts, which settle on the walls on a cold day, but when the sun appears, they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.
Nah 3:18 Your shepherds slumber, king of Assyria. Your nobles lie down. Your people are scattered on the mountains, and there is no one to gather them.
Nah 3:19 There is no healing your wound, for your injury is fatal. All who hear the report of you clap their hands over you; for who hasn't felt your endless cruelty?

 
Dec. 23
Revelation 7, 8

Rev 7:1 After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.
Rev 7:2 I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea,
Rev 7:3 saying, "Don't harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!"
Rev 7:4 I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:
Rev 7:5 of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand, of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,
Rev 7:6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
Rev 7:7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,
Rev 7:8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
Rev 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
Rev 7:10 They cried with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
Rev 7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God,
Rev 7:12 saying, "Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
Rev 7:13 One of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and from where did they come?"
Rev 7:14 I told him, "My lord, you know." He said to me, "These are those who came out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb's blood.
Rev 7:15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them.
Rev 7:16 They will never be hungry, neither thirsty any more; neither will the sun beat on them, nor any heat;
Rev 7:17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shepherds them, and leads them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Rev 8:1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Rev 8:2 I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Rev 8:3 Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
Rev 8:5 The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth. There followed thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake.
Rev 8:6 The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Rev 8:7 The first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. One third of the earth was burnt up, and one third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Rev 8:8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood,
Rev 8:9 and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed.
Rev 8:10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters.
Rev 8:11 The name of the star is called "Wormwood." One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
Rev 8:12 The fourth angel sounded, and one third of the sun was struck, and one third of the moon, and one third of the stars; so that one third of them would be darkened, and the day wouldn't shine for one third of it, and the night in the same way.
Rev 8:13 I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound!"

From Gary.... c-a-e-r-f-u-l


Wait, it should be S-A-N-T-A, not SATAN.  Someone was careless, very careless.  And CARELESSNESS is one of the major causes of unfaithfulness. Now, I know that its all-to-easy to cross the line from being helpful to being a fault-finder, But, being very-careful is an important thing in a Christian- especially those who preach or teach in any way. Consider Paul's advice to Timothy.

1 Timothy, Chapter 4
16 Pay attention to yourself, and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

And then there is this passage from the book of Hebrews...

Hebrews, Chapter 2
 1 Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense;  3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard;  4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?

Point is- everyone needs to be caerful careful in what they do, because even the best of us can fall by the wayside. And a spiritual fall has the potential of being for EVER!!! And I long as I am thinking about all this, I wonder- What does Santa serve for breakfast? Cookies and milk???