Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Do We Carry Everything To God In Prayer?

I am sure you are familiar with the old hymn, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus." If not, here is the first verse:

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!

Notice we see in this song that is it a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Later on, the song writer states we forfeit peace and bear needless pain because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Does the Bible support taking every need, want and desire to God in prayer? Yes, it does:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7)

These two passages of Scripture tells us to cast everything to the Lord. In 1 Peter, we anxieties, which is written to a group of churches spread out through Asia Minor. In Philippians, written by the Apostle Paul was under house arrest, wrote that everything should be given to God in prayer and His peace will guard us in Christ.

Many people think what matters to us may not matter to God. I have seen in my life God answering prayer from the simplest of things to the major moments in my life. So whether it is getting over a stomach bug to getting a new job or asking God for extra sleep after a long week, we can come to God with anything. It does not mean He will answer right away. Remember, God is not our time table.

The question being asked today is do we carry everything to God in prayer. If your answer is no, start today. If your answer is yes, then pray for those who don't. If your answer is sort of, then start telling God everything you are not telling Him. He already knows.

If God already knows everything, why pray? First, we are told to pray to Him. The verses above were not suggestions, they were commands. Second, God is sovereign, therefore to pray to Him to acknowledge His sovereignty. He is God, we are not.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Who Are The Antichrists?

A couple of weeks ago, I shared John Piper's video lab on 1 John 2:18-19 addressing if true Christians can fall away from God. This time around, Piper returns to these verses to discuss who are the antichrists.

Most of think of the Antichrist mentioned in Revelation yet there is not mention of the word in the entire book. Only 1 and 2 John contain the word yet 1 John mentions it in a plural form. Who are these antichrists? Piper explains:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Twelve Gospel Passages To Soak In

Mere truth won't sustain our souls. We desperately need the gospel. "The grace of God in truth" (Col. 1:6) is the shock that brings a dead soul to life and the charge that keeps it living. The gospel is the fuel that awakens and energizes the human heart, not mere truth - essential as truth is. Two plus two equals four - that's true. It just doesn't do much to jump-start and drive a languishing soul.

It's all wonderful and good to learn various truths from the Bible - and there are many crucial truths to learn - but we must not miss or minimize the one truth of the gospel, "the word of truth" (Col. 1:5; see Eph. 1:13), the message so central and significant that the apostle calls it not merely a truth, but the truth, throughout the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim. 2:4; 3:15; 4:3; 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:18, 25; 3:7, 8; Titus 1:1; 14)...These short sections are ripe for memorization, and warrant at least some extended time of reflection. Build your life on them and around them, and let them shape and flavor everything. Soak in them - and soak them in.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24).

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5).

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:19-20).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:14-17).

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:22-25).

Adapted from Habits of Grace by David Mathis

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ten Gospel Verses To Keep Warm

Bible memorization is always time well spent. All Scripture memory is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). And especially useful are one-verse statements of the gospel.

When you memorize a "gospel verse," and keep it warm, you have hidden in your heart a divinely inspired and inerrant expression, in human language, of the very point of the whole Bible and all of history. You carry with you the sword of the Spirit in its strongest alloy. One-sentence encapsulations of the Bible's central message strengthen our spiritual backbone and solidify our core, rooting us deep down in the bedrock of God's heart and confident combat with unbelief, whether our own or someone's else. Gospel verses are invaluable in both evangelism and discipleship.

So, alongside other Scripture memorization efforts, sprinkle in some gospel verses that guide and shape and flavor your whole reservoir. By "gospel verses," I have in mind verses like John 3:16 (don't begrudge this verse its fame-it's for good reason), verses that communicate succinctly that Jesus saves sinners.

Here's a starter list of ten. Perhaps keep your eyes peeled for others and add them as you go-and don't be surprised if you find a lot in Romans:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost (1 Timothy 1:15)

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10)

Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9)

Adapted from Habits of Grace by David Mathis

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Podcast Wednesday: Suicide Squad, Anonymous Twitter Accounts, Dispensationalism, and more

Gotham Central reviews Suicide Squad

Why does Jesus say to hate your father and mother? from Word Matters

The Reformed Forum on dispensationalism

Doctrine and Devotion on hanging out

Are Anonymous Twitter Accounts Cowardly? from These Go To 11

The Reformed Pubcast on the morality of sales and gambling and re-baptism

Theocast on how Covenant Theology helps our understand of the law/gospel distinction

Tim Keesee — Dispatches From the Front Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places from Equipping You In Grace

Scripture Typer

I stumbled upon a new website that is geared toward helping Christians memorize Bible verses called Scripture Typer. Not only can you use it on your phone or tablet, but you can use it on your PC.

You can create groups and even have a library of verses to memorize. Here is a short video explaining what Scripture Typer is about:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

God's Timing Is Not Our Timing

Have you ever prayed for something and it does not happen until later on? I know for many of us that has happened and other times it happened immediately. We expect God to do great things, but we want it on our time.

We live in a fast food mentality world where we want it now. We don't like waiting. Why do you think people at Wal-Mart are not happy when there are only three checkout lines opened when the store is full?

The same it true with God. We want Him to act now. We don't like waiting for Him yet there are several passages in the Psalms that says wait on the Lord.

Recently, Sam Storms addressed this very issue about God's timing is not our timing:

The God of the Unlikely Time

Often our schedule and God's seem out of sync. He acts earlier than we had expected, or later than we had hoped, or when it seems most awkward and inconvenient. The result is that sometimes we are impatient with God or choose to act impetuously, while on other occasions we are lazy and inactive.

I suspect that's how the Israelites must have felt as they stood on the banks of the Jordan River, prepared to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. They learned a lesson there that all of us must learn sooner or later. The lesson is simply that the God we love and serve is often the God of the unlikely time.

When the two spies returned from Jericho, Joshua received the news he had been waiting for: "And they said to Joshua, 'Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us'" (Josh. 2:24). But God then forced them to stand and watch the raging waters of the Jordan River for three days! The torrent was unabated. They could only look across the rising waters into Canaan, on the other side. The river seemed utterly impassable. Their long journey to the Promised Land appeared to have ended just short of their goal. Why did God bring them to the edge of the river and compel them to look with longing and frustration at the land he had promised to their forefathers? His reason seems clear: to drive home to their hearts the seeming impossibility of tomorrow!

God compelled them to wait three days to allow their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and inadequacy to reach the highest level possible. He forced them to wait until the waters of that river had risen to such a height that virtually all hope had been washed away.

A Lesson in Faithfulness

We often find ourselves asking, What does God expect of me? What does he want? The answer is that he wants a people who will faithfully respond to his call to act in the pursuit of his promises, even at the most unlikely time.

Perhaps you are only moments away from seeing the fruition of a dream that you've nurtured for years. Perhaps there is some massive problem that is on the verge of being solved, or a fractured relationship that is close to being healed, or a lifelong prayer that may finally be answered. God may be speaking to you in much the same way that he was speaking to the Israelites, saying, "Stand up! Be firm in your faith! The day of inheritance is here. The moment for fulfillment has arrived. As difficult as it may be for you to understand, I've actually chosen this challenging and demanding moment precisely because it affords the greatest opportunity for my power and love to be seen when I finally step into the situation and bring it all to pass!"

This is adapted from When God's Timing Is Not Our Own which is also adapted from the ESV Men's Devotional Bible

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Do All Religions Lead To God?

Many people have asked the question, do all religions lead to God? Many in our culture say yes because many religions are similar in their beliefs. What amazes me is that some Christians think the same thing and have even preached that it is true.

In this video, Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church answers this question during a Q & A session at the God's Not Dead Conference.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Communion of Saints

All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

1 John 1:3; John 1:16; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5,6; Eph. 4:15,16; 1 Cor. 12:7; 3:21-23; 1 Thess. 5:11,14; Rom. 1:12; 1 John 3:17,18; Gal. 6:10

Saints by profession are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion, according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches, yet, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, does not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man has in his goods and possessions.

Heb. 10:24,25, 3:12,13; Acts 11:29,30; Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-27; Acts 5:4; Eph. 4:28

Adapted from the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

Friday, August 12, 2016

Around The Web-August 12, 2016

A sale on ESV pew Bibles going on right now at WTS Books

If you want to explore using the ESV for your church or ministry, sign up right here

California Lawmaker Drops Controversial Proposal to Regulate Religious Colleges

Southern Baptists and the Quest for Theological Identity by Albert Mohler

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers by David Mathis

Don’t Say God Is Silent with Your Bible Closed by Matt Brown

Can We Hope Again? by Trevin Wax

What Does Cultural Engagement in a Secular Age Look Like? by Russell Moore

Tim Challies on The Harbinger

Not too long ago, a fan made trailer was created using clips from Marvel and DC movies and TV shows. If only this was a real movie, but I seriously doubt there will be one in the near future.

Here is a little humorous video on awkward Christian phrases. I laughed at everyone of them.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

God's Presence in Suffering

James 1:2-3 promises us that trials and tribulations will come in various forms. Jesus even promised that we will face trouble in this world (John 16:33). That does not mean we will like it, yet we can meet with joy knowing that God is with us.

It may feel at times that God is not there. You might accuse yourself of doing something wrong. You might think there is a secret sin God is mad about and He is getting your back for it. If that is the case, then why did Jesus have to die on the cross?

The good news is that God is always with us in the midst of trials. If we ascend to the heavens, he is there or make our bed in Sheol (Psalm 139:8). Nothing in all of creation is hidden from the sight of God (Hebrews 4:13), which includes our suffering. God knows what is going on and He cares for you. He is using your suffering to conform you into the image of Christ.

As Joshua was about to lead Israel into the Promised Land, God gives him this assurance, "Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). That is good news for all followers of Christ who are going through suffering. Just as God was with Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul, He is with us.

God is ever-present in our suffering. He has not abandoned you. He is taking care of you and will see you through. You may not understand why you are going through the trials you will go through, but one thing we can rest on is God is with us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Did The Reformation Spark Evangelism?

Some things that are associate with the Reformation are normally Martin Luther and Calvinism. Other things include Reformed Theology, a deeper understanding of the holiness of God, and the sufficiency of scripture. One thing the many don't associate the Reformation with is evangelism.

Some think when you embrace Reformed Theology, you don't have to evangelize or evangelism is not a top priority. In this video, Danny Akin, Ryan Kelly, and Colin Smith talk about the Reformation sparked evangelism.