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Category Archives: #LOVE

BEING POOR IN SPIRIT

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed seven ways to determine if you are poor in spirit (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 45-48):
  1. You will be weaned from self–Psalm 131:2 says, “Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.” When you are poor in spirit you will focus not on yourself but on glorifying God and ministering to others.
  2. You will focus on Christ–Second Corinthians 3:18 says that believers are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, [and] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” When you are poor in spirit, the wonder of Christ captivates you. To be like Him is your highest goal.
  3. You will never complain–If you are poor in spirit you accept God’s sovereign control over your circumstances, knowing you deserve nothing anyway. Yet the greater your needs, the more abundantly He provides.
  4. You will see good in others–A person who is poor in spirit recognizes his own weaknesses and appreciates the strengths of others.
  5. You will spend time in prayer–It is characteristic of beggars to beg. Therefore you will constantly be in God’s presence seeking His strength and blessing.
  6. You will take Christ on His terms–Those who are poor in spirit will give up anything to please Christ, whereas the proud sinner wants simply to add Christ to his sinful lifestyle.
  7. You will praise and thank God–When you are poor in spirit, you will be filled with praise and thanks for the wonder of God’s grace, which He lavishes on you through Christ (Eph. 1:6).

Do those principles characterize your life? If so, you are poor in spirit and the kingdom of heaven is yours (Matt. 5:3). If not, you must seek God’s forgiveness and begin to live as His humble child.

Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart, revealing any attitudes or motives that displease Him. Seek His grace in changing them.
For Further Study:
Read 3 John. Would you characterize Gaius as poor in spirit? Diotrephes? Explain.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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THREE HARD WORDS THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE ~ LUKE 15:21 ~

 “You can’t help a liar.”
That was the man’s conclusion based on years of experience with college students. Occasionally he is faced with difficult disciplinary decisions when the young people break the rules of the group. “I’ve dealt with everything you can imagine,” he said. “Every sort of sexual sin. Cheating. Breaking the law. You name it, I’ve seen it.” There is an established set of procedures in place to deal with those who get in trouble. Very often they are able to help the young people make amends and set their lives on a new path.

During our discussion the man made two comments that stayed with me. First, he has learned that lying has almost become a non-issue today. Everyone lies, and they lie all the time. It’s almost as if it’s not a sin to lie anymore. Perhaps it is a sign of postmodern relativism that we have come to accept that lying isn’t wrong. Or perhaps it is just a fulfillment of Romans 3:13, “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” After discussing how people routinely lie to cover up their sin, he offered this conclusion:

You can’t help a liar. You can help anyone struggling with any sort of sin as long as they tell the truth. But you can’t help a liar because you can’t trust anything he says.

The situation is compounded by the fact that when most of us get caught, we confess as little as possible. That’s not a student problem; that’s a human problem. And that leads to the second key point. One sign of true repentance is when “they tell you something you didn’t already know.” If you knew A + B + C, but the person then adds D + E + F, you know their repentance is deeper than just, “I’m sorry I got caught.” True repentance always involves coming clean, and coming clean means owning up to the whole pattern of wrongdoing, not just to the thing you happened to get caught doing. God desires “truth in the inward parts”(Psalm 51:6) or as Eugene Peterson puts it, “truth from the inside out.” It is very hard for us to come to this place of total honesty with God and with others. For most of us, it is a continual battle to be transparent in all our dealings, especially when we have sinned because it’s so easy to cover up.
 Lying has almost become a non-issue today
I can’t get one statement out of my mind because it contains so much truth: “You can’t help a liar.” As long as a liar is telling lies, you cannot trust anything he says. It’s like the old riddle, “If a liar says he’s telling the truth, can you believe him?” It’s tremendously difficult for any of us to take personal responsibility. We live a culture of victimization, a culture that rewards us for blaming others. You may remember the shooting that took place at Virginia Tech a few years ago. The gunman left a note behind that said, “You made me do this.” That’s an easy way out, isn’t it?
It’s easy when we’ve done wrong to say, “Everyone does it.”
Everyone cheats on their spouse.
Everyone yells at their children.
Everyone breaks a promise now and then.
Everyone lies a little bit.
Everyone uses bad language.
Everyone covers up their sin.
Although we live in a society that encourages us to make excuses, most of us don’t need any encouragement. We are born knowing how to pass the buck.

Back to Eden

It all goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. The serpent came to Eve and tricked her into eating the fruit. She offered some to Adam and he ate, knowing full well the consequences of his action. Suddenly the world became a very unfriendly place. Fear entered the human heart for the very first time. When Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they hid. Sin had changed everything. Where once they talked with God freely, now they hid in the forest lest their sin be discovered.
We are born knowing how to pass the buck.
At length God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” Adam answered and said, “I hid because I was naked.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked?” Then the dreaded question: “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Adam is cornered, caught red-handed, stripped of all his excuses. God knows! Adam does what men usually do. He passes the buck. His answer is a classic form of evasion: “The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the true, and I ate it” (Genesis  3:12).
Did you get that? “The woman you put here with me.” Adam passes the buck twice. First it was the woman. Then it was the womanyou put here. “Lord, it was her fault. She gave me the fruit and so I ate it. What was I supposed to do? Say no and watch her pout all night? And anyway, who put her in the garden? You did! She wasn’t my idea. I’m not complaining, Lord, because she’s beautiful and cute and all that, but I didn’t have this problem when it was just me and the animals.”
Adam passes the buck twice 
And so it goes. The first man, the father of the human race, is also the first one to pass the buck. Make no mistake. The Bible is telling us something significant. It is in our nature to deny our own guilt and to try to shift the blame to others. That’s what Genesis 3:7-12 is all about. It’s no coincidence that the first sin led to the first cover-up. The first disobedience led to the first denial. The first trespassing led to the first buck-passing. 
In the thousands of years since then, nothing has really changed. Human nature is the same. Passing the buck is in our spiritual bloodstream. We do it now because Adam did it back then. He established the pattern:
                        Disobedience which leads to
                                    Guilt which leads to
                                                Shame which leads to
                                                            Fear which leads to
                                                                        Hiding which leads to
                                                                                    Blaming others.

Solomon Says

Let me come to my thesis: It is a fundamental mark of spiritual health to be able to say, I was wrong.” Blessed is the man who can say those words because that man is on his way to spiritual health. If you want a verse to go with my thesis, jot down Proverbs 28:13“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
When we sin, we have two options. Option 1 is to conceal it. That means to cover it up, to make excuses, to rationalize, to pass the buck. When that happens, we do not prosper. We go through the internal hell of living with a guilty conscience. In the words of Psalm 32:3, our bones waste away and our strength is sapped. We suffer physically and mentally because we conceal our sins. Nothing works right. 
We must confess and renounce our sins 
Or we can confess our sins and renounce them. Both those words are important. To confess means to own up to what you did. When you confess your sins, you are saying, “Yes, I did it and I know it was wrong.” To renounce your sin means taking steps to break the destructive patterns in your own life. When you renounce your sins, you are saying, “I’ve been walking in the wrong path and now, with God’s help, I’m not going to walk in that path anymore. I’m going to change the direction of my life.”

“I Was Wr-r-r-r-r-r-”

Not long ago I spoke for a week of Bible conference at Word of Life Florida. On Wednesday morning I gave this message. Before the service I told the young man overseeing that sound system that I would be speaking on three words: “I was wrong.” He wrote it down and then said, “Those are hard words.”
He’s right.
It is not easy to say “I was wrong.” Most of us would rather do anything than to admit we were wrong. Do you remember how much trouble Fonzie had with this issue on the TV series Happy Days? Fonzie was too cool to ever admit he was wrong. Richie Cunningham would say to him, “Go ahead, admit it, you were wrong.” So Fonzie would go, “I was wr-r-r-r-r-r-r-.” He couldn’t get the word out. So he would end up saying, “I was wr-r-r-r-r-Not right!”
But “not right” is not the same thing as “wrong.” If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. But if you are “not right,” nobody really knows what you are. 
“Not right” is not the same thing as “wrong” 
Sometimes we make our excuses so subtly that we don’t realize what we’re doing. In one of his books, Bruce Larson uses the following example. Let’s say that you are describing an argument you had with your wife. You say, “All I said was, ‘Is your mother coming again?’” Now you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out that you’re in trouble the moment those words come out of your mouth. 
Whenever we preface something with the four words, “All I said was,” we’ve made a big mistake. Those are four of the most destructive words in the English language. They imply that you are sane, logical and loving and the other person is a nut. When you use those four words, you’re really saying, “It’s not my fault. I don’t have a problem. Somebody else has a problem.”
As long as you continue to say that, you cannot be forgiven.
As long as you say that, your relationships will remain broken.
As long as you say that, you will struggle with bitterness and resentment.
As long as you say that, you will remain locked out of the abundant life Jesus came to provide.
As long as you blame others, your life will remain broken and fragmented. You’ll never know holiness or wholeness or mental and spiritual health.

“I Have Sinned”

In Luke 15:11-32 Jesus told a story about a young man who felt an urge to leave his father’s house. It’s a familiar story, one that has happened in almost every family. This young man asked for his portion of the family estate and left for a distant land. There he squandered his money on wild living. Days passed, then weeks, then months. At last the day came when the young man had spent all his money. Now broke and destitute, he found himself in a desperate place, far from family and friends. Although he was ashamed, he hired on with a farmer who put him to work slopping the hogs. He was so hungry that he found himself ready to eat with the pigs. 
At that precise moment the light turned on in his brain. In a blinding flash, he saw himself and he saw what he had become. Most of all, he saw that it was his own stupidity that had gotten him in such a mess. No longer would he blame his father or criticize his older brother. No longer would he pretend to be something he wasn’t. In that moment of self-revelation, he saw what he had become. He knew that there was only one way back. 
He saw what he had become 
The strange irony of his situation hit him like a ton of bricks. His father’s servants were eating their fill back at home, while he, the master’s son, was living with the pigs. Then he thought to himself, “I’m going to get up and go back home. When I get there, I’m going to say, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’”
With that, the young man got up, brushed himself off, gathered his things and began making the long journey back home. He was still a long way off when his father spotted him trudging up the dusty road. Before the young man knew what was happening, his father ran to him, threw his arms around him, kissed him and said, “Welcome home, son.”
The son said what he had memorized in the pig pen. “Father, I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
His father ran to meet him 
But the father cut him off. He would hear no more of it. The cry went out, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Find the fattened calf and kill it. Call the neighbors and spread the good news. Tell everyone you see. This son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.”

No More Sleeping With The Pigs

I make one observation and one only. This young man, whom we call the Prodigal Son, turned his whole life around by saying three simple words: “I have sinned.”
He said it while he was still living with the pigs.
He said it while he was still far away from home.
He said it while he was still broke and hungry. 
But those three words turned his life around. 
It is a parable of your life and of mine. When we have sinned, we are so ashamed to find ourselves in the pig pen that we dare not tell anyone where we are. So we try to clean ourselves up, we try to be presentable, we brush our teeth and comb our hair, but we still have pig slop under our fingernails.
Everybody knows we’ve been with the pigs. 
Everyone knows we’ve been with the pigs 
This story is for everyone who is tired of eating with the pigs. If you are ready to go home, I’ve got good news for you. The Father is standing in the road waiting for you. His arms are open wide. He knows where you’ve been, and he is still waiting for you. The only thing that matters is for you to come home. 
That’s what the grace of God is all about. You can come home. You can start over. You can be forgiven. The slate can be wiped clean.You don’t have to live the rest of your life in hiding. You don’t have to live in fear that someone will find you out. You don’t have to eat with the pigs forever. 
It is possible, and it depends on one thing. You have to do what the Prodigal Son did. You have to come to your senses and say, “Father, I have sinned.” When you do, you will find the mercy that Proverbs 28:13 talks about. When you do, you will discover 1 John 1:9 is true. He is faithful. He is just. He will forgive your sin and will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The Citadel Of Self-Justification

That brings me back to the basic problem. Ever since Adam, we tend to do things when we sin. 
1.We hide.
2.We blame someone else.
Most of us are pretty good at it. We know all the good hiding places and we’ve memorized a thousand excuses. 
Until you come clean, you cannot be forgiven 
Listen carefully. As long as you live that way, you can never be forgiven. Never. Your refusal to own up to your sin means you will live with the burden of your past hanging like a millstone around your neck. 
Through Jesus Christ it is possible to be forgiven. That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news. As long as you refuse to admit you’ve done anything wrong, you can never be forgiven. Therefore, you will stay like you are right now: unforgiven, unhealthy, fragmented, broken, confused, divided, locked inside the citadel of your own self-justification.
But if you own up to your mistakes, then you can be forgiven. 
Here are three hard words that could change your life: “I was wrong.”
book graphic fade

RELATED BOOK
An Anchor for the Soul
What is God like? How can I know Him? Who is Jesus
and what did He do? What does it mean to be a Christian?
 Pastor Pritchard encourages,
challenges and leaves us with answers.
Let me ask the basic question this way: Are you ready to say, “I was wrong?” I hope the answer is yes. This is where your spiritual journey must begin.
Would you like to be forgiven?
Would you like to see the power of the Holy Spirit released in your life?
Would you like to see God do something miraculous in the relationships that matter most to you?
Are you willing to say the hard words that lead to freedom? If so, the healing can begin right now. 
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that we don’t have to be perfect to come to you. If we had to be perfect, who among us would qualify? They called you the Friend of Sinners. Thank God it is true. You are the friend and we are the sinners. Thank you for taking us in.
I pray now for those who are truly frightened by my words. May they have the courage to say, “I was wrong.” Help those who feel uneasy to yield to the gentle wooing of the Spirit. Speak to each of us and show us the truth so that we might be set free. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

THINK GOD CAN’T USE YOU?


I’ve seen the following reading floating around the Internet in various forms. My friend David Langerfeld sent it out via his 
Daily Encourager. Here’s my version of what David sent out:

You think God can’t use you?
You think you’re not good enough?
You think your past disqualifies you to serve God? 
Think again.
Look at some of the people God used in the Bible:
Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Sarah laughed at God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary was lazy.
Samson slept with a prostitute.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.
During a radio interview I was asked why so many Bible characters had serious flaws. My answer was simple. That’s all God has to work with. All the perfect people are in heaven. The only ones on earth are the folks with serious weaknesses. The talent pool has always been pretty thin when it comes to moral perfection. God works with sinners because that’s all he has to work with. In heaven we will all be vastly improved–perfected by God’s grace. But until then, he uses some pretty ornery people who fall short in many ways, and he does some amazing things through them.
You think God can’t use you?
Think again.
 

PASSOVER AND PALM SUNDAY

– This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley – http://gracethrufaith.com/selah/holidays-and-holy-days/passover-and-palm-sunday/
The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29,34).
John the Baptist had been preaching about the coming Messiah, identifying himself as the forerunner Isaiah had promised over 700 years earlier. Quoting from Isaiah 40:3 John said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord ‘ ” (John 1:23).
Introducing Jesus to Israel as the Lamb of God was no doubt meant to prompt a comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb in their minds. Reading about the first Passover (Exodus 12:1-20) from a Christian perspective makes the similarity so clear we wonder how they could have missed it. In fact several hundred Old Testament Prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus and many of these came in the last week of His earthly life during the two events we’ll be celebrating in the next few days, Passover for Israel and Palm Sunday for the Church.
For Christ, Our Passover Lamb, Has Been Sacrificed … 1 Cor. 5:7
By now the Passover story should be familiar to us. The final showdown between God and Pharaoh was coming. Through 9 plagues God sent to demonstrate His power over the pagan gods of Egypt, Pharoah had remained just as obstinate as God had predicted. The 10th plague, the death of all the firstborn, would break Pharoah’s will and free the Israelites from their bondage, but first they had to be protected from the plague.
On the 10th day of the 1st month God had them select a male lamb for each household and inspect it for 3 days to be sure it had no blemish or defect. Then it was slaughtered, and its blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. That night, behind closed doors in their own house, each family ate the lamb quickly with some bitter herbs and unleavened bread, not venturing outside. At midnight the destroying angel came through Egypt and took the life of the first born of every family, except for those who had covered their door posts with lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:1-13, 21-23, 28-30).
The next morning the Israelites were released from their bondage and given the wealth of Egypt, beginning their journey to the Promised Land with God in their midst. They weren’t spared because they were Jewish, or because they had lamb for dinner, but because they applied the lamb’s blood to their door posts believing that it would protect them. They were saved through faith by the blood of the lamb.
Just as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, we are slaves in this world, held in bondage to sin. On that first Palm Sunday, the 10th of the 1st month, our Passover Lamb was selected by allowing Himself to be proclaimed as Israel’s King for the first and only time in His life. When the Pharisees told him to rebuke His disciples for doing so, He said if they kept silent the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:39-40). This was the day ordained in history for His official appearance as their Messiah.
For the next 3 days He was subjected to the most intense questioning of His entire ministry lest there be any defects found in His words or deeds. Then on the 14th He was crucified, releasing us from our bondage to sin, and qualifying us to receive the wealth of His Kingdom. We are saved through faith by the blood of the Lamb. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The Son of Man Wept, The Son of God Warned
As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in from every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone upon another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).
The prophet Daniel had laid out the schedule for them over 500 years earlier. From the time the Jews were given permission to rebuild Jerusalem after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians, to the coming of the Messiah, there would be 69 periods of 7 years each, or 483 years (Daniel 9:25). History tells us that this permission was given to Nehemiah by the Persian ruler Artaxerxes Longimonus in March of 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-9). The Sunday when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to the shouts of Psalm 118:25-26 was exactly 483 years later, but by then most of the Jewish leadership no longer took the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy was being denied.
Regardless of their opinion, the Lord held them accountable for knowing when He would visit. Given that hundreds of additional prophecies of His coming had already been fulfilled in their midst, we can see His point. Remember, they were all fulfilled in the span of one lifetime, the one in which He came. There are hundreds more prophecies relating to His Second Coming, and again all will be fulfilled within the span of one lifetime, the one in which He comes (Matt 24:34). And just as it was then, our leaders no longer take the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy is again being denied. But regardless of their opinion, the Lord will hold the people of our day accountable to “recognize the time of God’s coming” just like He did back then.
Who Was That Man?
A few days ago I got an email from someone I assume to be Jewish claiming that Jesus didn’t meet a single requirement to be Israel’s Messiah. I’ve received a number of these over the years and have come to realize they think this way because Israel was looking for a Messiah to fulfill what we know as second coming prophecies. They wanted the Lion of Judah, a powerful warrior king like David, who could throw off the Roman yoke and restore Israel’s kingdom, because that’s what they thought they needed.   They didn’t think they needed a Savior, so when they got the Lamb of God who came to take away their sins they didn’t recognize Him.
Today, because of a similar denial of the validity of prophecy, much of the world is looking for some version of the Lamb of God. They want a gentle teacher who will accept us all and promise to show us the way to peace and plenty. They won’t think they need a conqueror, so when the Lion of Judah comes to utterly destroy His enemies and restore God’s Kingdom, they won’t recognize Him (Matt. 24:30). Like the man said, “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
 

QUESTION: "WAS IT UNFAIR FOR GOD TO ALLOW JOB TO SUFFER OVER WHAT WAS BASICALLY AN ARGUMENT BETWEEN GOD AND SATAN?"

Answer:A surface reading of thebook of Jobusually evokes a reaction such as “Why is God making a ‘bet’ with the devil? God is being unfair to Job!” If we are honest and not just trying to defend God, He seems at first like some kind of cosmic ogre. God not only wagered Satan over the outcome of Job’s trials, but He actually provoked the bet (Job 1–2). To make matters worse,Jobnever finds out why he was afflicted in the first place. This is very disturbing for those who hope to see God as just, gracious and loving and not just “playing” with us as if we were pawns on a chessboard. So, in a way, the story of Job puts God on trial. To really understand what is going on in Job, we need to evaluate how this “trial” is litigated in the book’s argument.

On the surface, when God finally “testifies” in Job 38–42, the way He “grills” Job may seem to suggest that God is “against” Job rather than “for” him. The God-speeches are notable for their deep sarcasm, as if God were simply highlighting Job’s cluelessness (Job 38–39). However, a deeper look reveals a more redemptive dynamic in this trial: first, Job’s friend Elihu actually serves under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, both as Job’s advocate before God and God’s advocate before Job (Job 32–37); second, we find that God indeeddidexpress His love to Job, both in His speeches (Job 38–41) and in finally vindicating Job. God confirms that Job had spoken “what was right” about Him, whereas his first three friends had not (42:7).

As Job and his friends debate God’s fairness, it becomes apparent that all of them basically believe in the doctrine of “retribution theology”—every act receives just punishment or reward in this present life, so we should be able to tell who is righteous or wicked by whether they are visiblyblessedorcursedon earth. This is a false doctrine, but Job thought itshouldbe true and went on the offensive, charging God with injustice and calling for a trial (Job 29–31). Surprisingly, God condescends and agrees to be put on trial. The speeches in Job 38–41 actually consist of God’s testimony in His own defense. In the “trial” we see that Job has no legal standing to convict God. Job cannot demonstrate how God runs the universe, so he cannot present any evidence of injustice (chapters 38–39). Also, God establishes His absolute right to act as He sees fit. As proof, He points to two creatures—behemoth andleviathan—that mankind has no control over whatsoever and that answer only to God.

Even before God shows up, Elihu makes the same points and argues that God is deeply redemptive in His dealings with man in spite of man’s notorious tendency toward self-destruction (32–37). Since God validates Elihu’s points (38–41), the adversarial tone in God’s answer to Job makes even more sense: throughout Job’s dialogue with his friends (4–27) and in his formal complaint to God (29–31), Job had assumed that God wasunawareof what happened to him or that He wasdeliberately persecutinghim or that Job had inadvertently sinned and God wasnot willing to tell himwhat the problem was. Job thought he was being punished entirely out of proportion to any conceivable offense he may have committed. In fact, Job questions God incessantly throughout the dialogue. His protest climaxes in a direct indictment of God on the charge of injustice (29–31).

So what did Job “get right” (42:7)? The upshot of the trial is that Job finally sees that God’s governance of the universe is much more wonderful than he could have imagined, and he openly concedes this (42:2-5); sothisis what Job spoke about God that was “right” (42:7). Now, it is absolutely crucial to note the sequence of events at this point: it is only when Job obeys God and intercedes on behalf of his three friends—who had now become his enemies—that God actually blesses Job with a twofold inheritance (42:8-17). This “reward” was not at all some kind of “consolation prize” for Job’s unfair treatment; rather, it was the inheritance God promises to all who serve faithfully as redemptive agents of the Creator (cf.Daniel 12:3). Job obeyed God and was rewarded for his obedience.

In the end, God’s wager with Satan actually achieved an incredible coup: He harnessed evil and turned it to good (cf.Genesis 50:20), and He transformed Job into the most effective servant of all, one who took on God’s own redemptive character andloved his enemies. And this, in fact, is our take-home lesson from Job.

Recommended Resources:Logos Bible SoftwareandThe Serpent of Paradise by Erwin Lutzer.


Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/God-Job-Satan.html#ixzz2ORzKTJlT

 

THIS ‘N’ THAT

One might think that a man’s dinner menu isn’t exactly newsworthy. That is, unless you’re the pope. Apparently if you wear a big, sparkly hat and allow millions of people to call you Holy Father, then what you put into your mouth is worthy of a news write-up by Religion News Service

Baked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine hardly seems like food fit for a king. But it does seem to be a meal fit for a pope. 

Pope Francis is becoming well known for his simple tastes: As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he carried his own bags when traveling, preferred public transportation to chauffeur-driven limousines, and, the stories go, cooks meals for himself. 

His humble lifestyle extends to the kitchen, a stark contrast with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who before becoming pope relished feasting on fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron.

(Source)

photo credit: amanky via photopin cc

Look, we get it. We’re supposed to revere Pope Francis not just because he’s miraculously been granted powers of infallibility, but because he’s ‘humble.’ Never mind the fact that the very office of pope is an ostentatious one. Let’s face it, humble popes don’t exist.

And if we’re going to judge a man’s humility by his menu, well, then us bloggers ought to be some of the most humble men and women of them all. Sure, Pope Francis used to live in a little apartment, take the bus, and eats skinless chicken and salad. But us bloggers live in our mother’s basements, spend our days in a beanbag chair, and maintain a steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew. I mean, if we want to have a humility contest, who do you really think is going to win? The guy in the robes with a massive silver cross around his neck, or the sweatpants-wearing blogger?

Well, it’s about time for me to go prepare a humble lunch, so while I do that, please go ahead and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

  • The Cripplegate has had a few really good articles about Roman Catholicism, the papacy, etc. In this one, Steve Meister talks about alleviating the protestant inferiority complex. He also rightly observes, “Since the Pope misrepresents the evangel, the gospel, I fail to grasp how he could ever excite evangelicals.”
  • I’ve heard a lot of Christians praising the television show Duck Dynasty. I’ve never watched it myself, but those who do may want to examine just what kind of a gospel the Duck Dynasty family proclaims.
  • The Mormons have once again changed their scriptures, specifically updating references to blacks and to polygamy. Kinda makes you extra thankful to know that the true and living Word of God never changes, doesn’t it?
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • I’ve always said ‘Earth Hour’ — those 60 minutes every year where everyone is supposed to sit in the dark and not use any electricity — was utterly ridiculous. (In fact, I usually celebrate by turning on as many lights and electrical appliances as possible). Turns out it’s not just ridiculous,it’s downright backwards.
  • Only Carl Trueman could write a blog post entitled, “The Yuck Factor” and still have it be taken seriously (as it should be).
  • Former ‘pastor’ Jack Schaap has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his relationship with a minor.
  • The University of Tennessee has withdrawn some of the funds from its upcoming ‘Sex Week’ event. Organizers only have a few days to find over $11,000. Good, I hope it gets canceled.
  • Speaking of gay marriage, this North Carolina church has promised to stop performing marriages until gay marriage is permitted.
  • Back to ‘The Bible’ miniseries: there’s a little—no, a hugesomething missing in the scene of the Last Supper.
  • Never make a Gospel appeal to people’s emotions: 


 

QUESTION: "WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT WE ARE NOT TO LOVE THE WORLD?"

Answer:First John 2:15-16says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, thelust of the eyes, and thepride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” YetJohn 3:16begins, “For God so loved the world . . .” So, God loves the world, but we are not supposed to? Why the apparent contradiction?

In the Bible, the termworldcan refer to the earth and physical universe (Hebrews 1:2;John 13:1), but it most often refers to the humanistic system that is at odds with God (Matthew 18:7;John 15:19;1 John 4:5). When the Bible says that God loves the world, it is referring to the human beings who live here (1 John 4:9). And as His children, we are to love other people (Romans 13:8;1 John 4:7;1 Peter 1:22). Theparable of the Good Samaritanmakes it clear we cannot pick and choose whom to love (Luke 10:30-37).

When we are toldnotto love the world, the Bible is referring to the world’s corrupt value system. Satan is the god of this world, and he has his own value system contrary to God’s (2 Corinthians 4:4).First John 2:16details exactly what Satan’s system promotes: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Every sin imaginable can be summed up in those three evils; envy, adultery, pride, lying, selfishness, and more spring from those three roots.

The world is what we leave when we come to Christ.Isaiah 55:7says that coming to God involves a forsaking of our own ways and thoughts. John Bunyan, in his bookThe Pilgrim’s Progress, pictures the believer’s position as having “his eyes lift up to heaven,” holding “the best of books” in his hand, and standing with “the world as cast behind him” (p. 34).

The world often applauds sin. Hollywood encourages us to envy sinners and to foolishly compare ourselves with the “beautiful people” (seeProverbs 23:17). Often the popularity of “stars” is due to their ability to stir in us dissatisfaction with our own lives. Advertisers prey on our natural tendency to love this world, and most marketing campaigns appeal in some way to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life.

Loving the world means being devoted to the world’s treasures, philosophies, and priorities. God tells His children to set their priorities according to His eternal value system. We are to “seek first” God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and we cannot be devoted to both God and the world at the same time.

When we enter God’s family through faith in Christ, God gives us the ability to exit the world’s rat race (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become citizens of another kingdom (Philippians 1:27,3:20). Our desires turn heavenward, and we begin to store up eternal treasure (Luke 12:33;Matthew 19:21;1 Timothy 6:18-19). We realize that what is truly important is eternal, not temporal, and we stop loving the world.

To continue to love the world the way unbelievers do will cripple our spiritual growth and render us fruitless for God’s kingdom (Matthew 3:8;Luke 6:43-45;John 15:1-8). InJohn 12:25, Jesus took this thought a step further when He said, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Not loving the world extends to our own lives as well. Jesus said if we love anything more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38).

In general, the termworldin the Bible refers to the evil system controlled by Satan that leads us away from worship of God. John Calvin said, “The human heart is an idol factory.” We can make idols out of anything. Any passionate desire of our hearts that is not put there by God for His glory can become an idol (1 Corinthians 10:31). Loving the world is idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:7,14). So, while we are commanded to love thepeopleof the world, we are to be wary of anything that competes with God for our highest affections.

Recommended Resources:Logos Bible SoftwareandBalancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie.


Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-love-the-world.html#ixzz2OI9zHt7I