Monday, March 31, 2014

God's Plan for You


This is the "Life Verse" of a young lady that I used to talk to. A verse that she could call back to memory and lean upon at any time in her life journey and depend upon no matter the situation and circumstance at that particular time, stage and place in her day. She realized that God's plan was not laid out, but was constantly being laid out in front of her, rolling out daily in her walk with the Holy Spirit as she put her full trust in the promises of God, thereby being her blessed hope and assurance in love, joy and peace. trust in God's plan for you.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jesus - God, the Son


John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

This last Sunday Pastor Phil was “under the weather”, so we were blessed to once again to have Senior Chaplin Mike Reed of the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department “fill in”. Chaplin Reed posed the question: “Who is this Jesus?” - Was Jesus a great man?, a great prophet?, or was He God? What did Jesus do to show us the answer? Let’s see.

In John 1:4-5, Jesus speaking of himself said “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In John 19:19, Jesus said, “Light has come into the world”, then declares in John 8:12 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What is light; that darkness flees from its presence? Christians, too,  are the light of the world (being salt and light – Matthew 5:13-16) as we push out darkness of sin and unbelief by reflecting and revealing the light of truth in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus turned the water into wine in John 2:1-11, he changed the molecular structure of the atoms to do so. Hebrews 1:2-3 tells us that “God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.The atoms are literally held together by His mighty power, because John 1:3 agrees that all things were made by Jesus.
Matthew 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Historians believe that in Jesus’ three year ministry on earth, He healed upwards of 30,000 people. They came to Jesus and he healed them all. Luke 7:22 - Jesus controls life. In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus claims the storm and the disciples say: “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” He had control over the weather. In Matthew 8:28-34, the demons knew and obeyed the Son of God.

When we become a Christian (receive Jesus and believe in His name), we become a child of the family of God (John 12-13) and a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). The devil has two goals: (1) he wants to make sure that you never know Jesus, and (2) for Christians to keep their faith and the gospel to their selves and ruin their testimony. Many people trust the Lord for mere temporal matters of life, but saving faith is trusting Christ to save us eternally. Just think if every sin was exposed.

In Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus walks on water. In order to do that, He must control gravity. In John 6:1-14, Jesus displays the power to replicate and produce material (in this case food) from nothing. Nobody has ever done this. This is good news ... Jesus is God.

Chaplin Reed challenged us; “Get out of your comfort zones and do something for the Lord. In all of God’s work, He equips us. Anything that God brings to us, He helps us thought it. Prayer is the way to communicate with God and we suffer when we fall short in our prayer life. Go to people and pray for them, showing the love of Christ and Christians (the children of God). The devil doesn’t want us to pray, but stay as far from our relationship with God as possible. Prayer doesn’t only better the life of those prayed for, but the one praying also.

In John 11:1-44, Luke 7:11-16, Luke 8:52, and Matthew 9:18-25, Jesus demonstrates power to raise people from the dead. Finally, in John 20: 1-17, Jesus defies death itself.  Funny thing about all of the His supernatural miracles of Jesus is that the only one contested is “the Resurrection”. Do not be afraid of death, even though we dread the process of death, because Christ has power over death, conquered death (John 10:18), and the power to raise it again. Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be God, and in the resurrection He proved that He was. We do not serve a dead God.   

Acts 4:12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Why won’t people accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? There is no other place to go for salvation. The minute after we die, what’s going to happen to us? Where will we go to spend eternity? Take the time to find Jesus and know Him more. Trust in the Lord completely, changing everything about us from the inside out, and be a light to the world. The greatest miracles that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).


In Christ, Brian

Friday, March 28, 2014

God’s Not Dead



Psalm 74:22-23Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.”

A week ago, the newest Christian movie “God’s Not Dead” came to the “big screen” across America and by the end of the opening weekend took in more than $8.5 million, with a fifth place in box office numbers while just playing in 780 theaters nation-wide. Why did so many go see this faith-based movie centered on a College student defending his faith in God against a misuse of position and power of his college professor in class in an attempt to destroy and silence Christianity by attacking God, stating categorically that God does not exist as fact. Sure, it has a great cast of stars of Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Willie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark), Actor, Dancer, Singer Shane Harper (Good Luck Charlie) and David A.R. White and excellent plot, tremendous character development, outstanding side-stories, and brilliant humor elements, but people see a real attack on America’s freedom of Religion issue here and that is troubling to them. In a nation that defends Freedom, Liberty and Life of its people, where does oppression, repress and suppression of those freedoms and liberty (especially where In God We Trust” is our national motto) have a place? It’s un-American. This movie doesn’t pretend that it isn’t happening in our colleges today, but takes the issue head-on because, sadly, our students face the reality of these anti-God professors in our institutions of higher learning daily. Opposing world-views are expected, but intolerant exclusion and exclusivity is unacceptable. Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental arguments, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. There are both Christian and Non-Christian philosophers (past and present) and both side’s arguments should be heard. Discussion, debates, questioning, presentation and defense of all world-view truth-claims are supposed to be offered and welcomed, without embracing as equal. Truth is not relative. That’s the point of the movie.

Jeremiah 22:16He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”

In the movie, the College freshman and devout Christian Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) correctly states from the beginning that the existence God (who is Spirit and invisible) can neither be proved or disproved because the “finite” man cannot define the “infinite” God. How do you define “infinite”, “all-powerful”, “ever-present”, “all-knowing”, “Creator”? Yet, the evidence is plainly seen around us in nature, supernaturally created … the fingerprints of God. The natural cannot explain the Supernatural. But, nature is not the issue; unbelief is. Atheism (the doctrine or belief that there is no God) is, by definition, a religion that is contrary to the belief in one God as the transcendent Creator and sovereign Ruler of the universe. Kevin Sorbo, the actor who plays the atheistic philosophy professor, said: “There's a negativity towards Christians in Hollywood and a negativity towards people who believe in God. The silent majority is starting to get annoyed with what’s going on,” the Christian actor continued. “I think more people need to start speaking about it instead of just sitting there and taking it.... It’s happening; you’re getting attacked; you need to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.” Negativity is not what Christianity is about. God is real, God is love, God is merciful and without a doubt “God is not dead”. Loving God and loving your neighbor are the great Commandments of our Almighty Creator. Silence about Him is not an option. I hope that you get a chance to go see and support this superb movie. Here is the Website, so you can get more information: http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/. God’s not dead; He is surely alive!

Philippians 1:4-8 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.



In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Word of God Endures Forever


John 17:17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

Continuing this study in lesson four of Focus on the Family’s 12 part video series: “The Truth Project”. There are so many foundational Christian issues presented for our examination that splitting topics into separate posts for your consideration is helpful for thinking and understanding. Some subjects are not pleasant because they deal with the “evil” in this fallen world, but the purpose is for us to be aware of both sides of issues involving “belief and unbelief” (the two worldviews and the center of the cosmic battle), that we can beware of entities and see where they are coming from, as we “speak the truth in love” of what we believe and why we believe it, with the goal of setting the captive free in Jesus Christ and making disciples of all nations as we advance the kingdom of Heaven.

Revelation 19:11-13I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.”

Dr. Del Tackett asks: “Should we be surprised than that it is the knowledge of God, the character of God and the Word of God that is under the fundamental attack from the unholy trinity of the God-rejecting world-system, the fallen sinful flesh desires of man, and the devil?” We are told by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Attacks on God come in the forms of twisting, distorting His nature or denying and ignoring His existence. Attacks on God’s Word come in attempts to extinguish, suppress, discredit, destroy, dilute. deny or ignore their truth, authority and message. Yet, it is the number one selling book in the world. The claims to destroy Creator God and the Holy Bible have all failed.

1 Peter 1:24-25  For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

French philosopher, Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), said in 1776: “100 years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one (in a museum) that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker.” 100 years later Voltaire’s home was used as a warehouse for the distribution of Bibles in Europe. In 1778, Voltaire proclaim: “it took 12 men to start Christianity; one will destroy it.” Voltaire died that same year.
Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American politician and lecturer known for his adamant support of scientific and humanistic rationalism, once held a Bible high and stated: “In 15 years I will have this book in the morgue.” 15 years later, Ingersoll was in the morgue. A Pastor purchased Ingersoll’s desk and spent his life writing sermons on it.

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Dr. Tackett tells us, “Do not be surprised when the God-rejecting world attempts to rip away the validity of the Word of God.” A world in slavery to sin doesn’t want to listen to biblical truth of the Bible. A fallen world wants to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and this Word of God stands in their way, not to mention the just and holy Sovereign Lord God behind it all.  It should be expected that anything contrary to the word, will and way of God will be offensive to sinful man. The question is, “Do we really believe the holy Scriptures to be the Word of God?” – written by the Holy Spirit through inspired vessels of God. Then, “Do we trust Him and His word?” What is being revealed to us? We have begun a life-long quest to know Him and make Him known. May we hunger and thirst for the Word of God resulting in us drawing nearer to God’s revelation to us and bring the light of Truth to the world around us. This world is passing away, but the Word of God endures forever.


In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knowing What is Eternal Life?


John 17:1-3 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Continuing this study in lesson four of Focus on the Family’s 12 part video series: “The Truth Project”. Dr. Del Tackett explains that Jesus is not just the clinical intellectual knowledge of God, but an intimate relationship. We are talking about true relationship – the social order, the personal communion, and the objective, real relationship that exists between God and man in heart, mind and soul. Eternal life is bound up in our intimate relationship with Him. Jesus spoke on this subject on many occasions: Luke 18:18-22, John 3:12-15, John 4:13-14, John 5:24 and 39-40, John 6:27, 54 and 58, and the opening verse above. Jesus is not demeaning the Scriptures; He is stating that some stop there. Not clinical knowledge, but a relationship is necessary.

Philippians 3:8-10 “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in  Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,  becoming like him in his death.”

Hosea 6:6For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord  who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Dr. Del Tackett explains what is meant in Deuteronomy 4:23-24So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”, that the Hebrew word for jealous is קַנָּא  , pronounced qanna.' What does it mean for God to be jealous? I thought that jealousy was not a good thing. Yet, it is repeated in Zechariah 8:2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.”, and again in Exodus 34:14for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”God; El Qanna, has jealous zeal arise when sin threatens the covenant relationship between Him and His people. Do we show the same zeal towards our Father in Heaven?  

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 42:1-2As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God.In gazing upon the face of God Almighty, we not only begin to know Him, but also begin to know ourselves. This is what truly transforms us, and it came through the word of God.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Who is God?


 John 17:1-3 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”


Sticking with Focus on the Family’s study of the Truth Project, we’ve moved from lesson three on anthropology to lesson four on Theology, where Dr. Del Tackett tackles the question of: “Who is God?” How does one define or describe God? The answer is “We cannot completely.” It is like trying to define eternity, because God is infinite. The amazing thing is that the omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (ever-present), Creator of the universe has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Theology is the study of the existence, nature, and attributes of God. We are all theologians, because study to know God and know Him more. The ultimate source of all truth is the nature, character, being and attributes of God Himself. Nothing that is true can contradict the Nature of God.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He."

The Westminster Confession of 1646 stated “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; … most loving, gracious, merciful, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forging iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin, and who wiiby no means clear the guilty.” How does the world respond to the question: “Who is God?” Not an easy question. It depends on which worldview you use to frame the question. American Theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul states that the knowledge of God has not been destroyed, but rather eclipsed in our day; in that God exists, but metaphorically speaking, a shadow has been put over His face to attempt to stop the light of God to shine upon us.

Colossians 2:2-3that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

What keeps us from understanding that God is really who He says He is? Our passion should be to remove the filters which hide who He is – in our lives and in the lives of others. Our eternal life is bound up in our intimate relationship with Him. Charles Spurgeon stated that the highest science, the loftiest  speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can engage the attention of a child of God is the name, the nature, the person, the doings, and the existence of the great God which they call their Father.” Let’s think on these things for now and pick up here on the next post.



In Christ, Brian

Friday, March 21, 2014

What is Evil? Part Two


Picking up in Focus on the Family's Truth Project lesson on "Evil".

If man’s moral state, without God, is basically good, but evil is inherent in man, then where does evil come from? Secular humanists believe that evil comes from something, but not man. Dr. Tackett showed how the blame for evil in the world is given to mankind meeting their material, physical and emotional needs. American Psychologist Abraham Maslow outlined his theory of a hierarchy of needs, whereby people are motivated to reach man’s ultimate objective in the highest level called self-actualization, because he believed that “sick (evil) people are made by a sick culture”. Humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers agreed with the main assumptions of Abraham Maslow, but added that for a person to "grow", they need an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood). He states that “experience leads me to believe that it is cultural influences, which are the major factor in our evil behaviors.” Note, no mention of God. This is the pernicious lie that doesn’t go away, that all we need is to get in touch with your inner nature by following our needs. No, the answer is not all about us getting what we want, when we want. The truth is that you don’t need to find yourself, but lose yourself. Don’t buy the lies. 

Colossians 3:5-10Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

If mankind is basically good, then that means we do not need a Savior or God. Christianity stands in opposition to self-actualization. Romans 3:22-24  says: “Righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. What is evil? Maybe you’ve heard that as cold is the absence of heat and darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God. I’ve also read before that evil is the presence of Satan (possibly referring to John 8:44). But evil basically is that which is contrary to God’s character and nature. God, Himself, is the standard by which all that is good is measured by. Creator God, who rightfully determines "right" from "wrong" by His perfect character and nature, is who we are accountable and responsible to. Fallen and rebellious man must indoctrinate against and destroy God’s social design in order to do what they want to do, wherever they want to do it. But we must remember that every unbeliever is a (P.O.W.) prisoner of war, held captive by sin, and needs to be set free by faith in Jesus. Not a single human being is worthless because they bear the image of God. That’s what John 3:16 is about. What is evil? - Something to get rid of by knowing and obeying God. It is the Truth that will set you and I free. The Gospel Truth is :Good News!"

Philippians 4:19-20 “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is Evil? Part One


 Psalm 34:12-16Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.

This lesson three of Focus on the Family’s “The Truth Project” examines the questions of: “Who is man?” and “Who is God?”, because these two questions form the foundation of one’s worldview. American Theologian Jonathon Edwards stated: “Of all kinds of knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important.”  Professor Dr. Del Tackett speaks in our Wednesday night Bible Study video series at our church, about the problem of evil in the world. Everyone acknowledges that evil exists. What is it and where did it come from? Why is there evil in the world? These are some of the most popular questions posed to Christians today by secular society? Christianity has answers this the question of “What is Evil?”, but if the question is passes back upon the God-rejecting world, they come up empty, because if one excludes Sovereign Creator God, they are left in a very difficult position in how to answer these questions. The Word of God reveals the ultimate answers. God created mankind as “dualistic” (both flesh and spirit), but secular man with a Naturalistic philosophy sees themselves and life as “monistic” (purely material), living within the closed universe of the “cosmic box” with no gods or purposive forces, no foundation for ethics, no free will, no life after death, and no meaning for life; just meeting man’s needs.


Romans 8:5-13Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

I will post part two of this truth Project lesson notes and thoughts tomorrow.
Blessings, in Christ, Brian

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Man’s Essence


Romans 8:5-14Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Last week, at our church’s Wednesday night Bible Study in the “Truth Project”, the lesson was looking at the Apologetic of Anthropology in the primary Doctrine of “Who is man?” and “Who is God?” Professor Dr. Del Tackett stated that the answers to these two questions form the foundation of everyone’s worldview. In the description of human essence, Dr. Tackett illustrates the states of man as first being “innocent” - Genesis 1:27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Second, as “fallen” - Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” If mankind dies in this state of “fallen in sin” then the result is “eternal damnation in Hell” forever - (a reality that, if we grasp completely, will drive us to reach the lost in sin) - Revelation 20:13-15 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” 

Revelation 21:3-7 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

The third state is “Redeemed in Christ” – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When the “fallen” are “redeemed” by saving faith in Jesus - the Savior of the world, then the result is “glorification” in eternal life. Hallelujah – Praise God! Hear the voice of God in His holy Word, depend upon the providence of God, and live in obedience to the Lord.

Next post, we’ll explore the battle between dualistic and monistic Philosophy in the Anthropology of life. It is what Dr. Tackett calls the “cosmic battle” of the sin nature of man in constant conflict with God’s Spirit.  

video


In Christ, Brian

Monday, March 17, 2014

Captive Philosophy (Part Two)


Romans 12:2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Hollow and deceptive Philosophy takes us to depression, despondency, and despair because godlessness is failing in their quest “inside-the-box” to find universal truths. Postmodernism philosophy claims that there is no truth and ultimately life itself has no purpose – playing a game of non-reality. You simply cannot do that to the foundations, because “right is right and wrong is wrong” – there are absolute and universal truths – and that is the fundamental problem. When the truth of sovereign God and His Word is escorted out of life, then “Might makes right”, meaning that power and strength establish the ruling authority to follow inside the closed box. But God is ultimate truth and a lie is “wrong”, because lying is counter to His very nature and character. What is your worldview?

2 Corinthians 3:18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What do you believe is really real? Buy the lies inside the empty box and you will conform to and go the ways of the God-rejecting world system that use deceptive philosophy to captivate. Yet, our Father in Heaven transforms the heart and sets the captive free. The Greek word for transformed is metamorphoō and is the same word used in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9, when Jesus was transfigured in His glory. What is behind the way that we act? We must be transformed, believe and act for the next generation being held captive by hollow and deceptive philosophy. The hard part of a believing metamorphosis is the struggle within the chrysalis stage of the cocoon, our life transformation, our desire and decision for the Lord that answers the questions of the soul and conforms us to His image, or we can believe the same old things in the “cosmic box” that conforms us to their image. 

Isaiah 61:1-3The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord  has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.




In Christ, Brian

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Captive Philosophy (Part One)


Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

This last week’s mid-week Bible Study lesson in the “Truth Project” was too jam-packed with thought-provoking Theological reality that it is just going to take a couple posts to pack this box-full of teaching from Professor Dr. Del Tackett from “Focus on the Family”, because nobody really wants to be taken captive through empty and deceptive philosophy. What is Philosophy? The Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines Philosophy as “Literally, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation of the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject, are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy, or metaphysics. The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness. True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.” American Theologian R.C. Sproul adds that Philosophy is the love of wisdom to discover ultimate reality.

Psalm 78:7-8That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”


Some questions were posed, in which the intent is not to insult, but to get us to ponder and reflect upon for growing and improving. Do we live like God is not there? Do you and I believe in the Omnipresence of God - that God’s presence is with us? When men and women reject God, humans don’t like to live in a vacuum, so add spirits into the “God is not real” cosmic box. Thus we have false religions, spiritual naturalism, idealism, materialism, empiricism, rationalism, determinism, relativism, mentalism, mechanism, solipsism, subjectivism, intuitionism, hedonism, higher powers and forces, et cetera for that which cannot be explained “inside-the-box”. We see now that God is being left outside the definition of life because the sovereign Creator of the Cosmos has been thrown outside the “cosmic cube” of deceptive unbelief, yet we look for reality inside “an empty box”, for answers to the universal questions of life. What is existence? What is thought, reason, and knowledge? What is the meaning and purpose of life? The particulars of creation and life fall into place when the universal truths are known.  

So that this post doesn't get too long, and that we came take a day to absorb these deep thoughts on life, let's stop here and pick this lesson up right here tomorrow.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Outside the Box


2 Timothy 2:24-26A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.  Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.”

Our church’s Wednesday night Bible Study is taking a tour though the ‘Focus on the Family’ 12 weeks of lessons in the “Truth Project”. This last week, the lesson was looking at Christian Philosophy and Ethics. The Professor Dr. Del Tackett points to the opening Bible passage to state that our culture has been taken captive by the devil’s traps. Proverb’s 23:7 says; “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” There is a formal and vital connection between our ideas about the philosophical nature of the world and our understanding of right and wrong behavior. When astronomer Carl Sagan launched "Cosmos," an epic 13-part TV series, he stated: "The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Come with me.", but this is deceptive language and empty philosophy that equated to simply saying: “There is no God.”

Colossians 2:8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

The warning from the Holy Scriptures to Believers is “Beware, because we can be taken captive by lies. This form of knowledge is “assumptive language” of truth claims, caught and bought without opinion, so that we will buy the lie. With an unfounded assumption that there is nothing beyond matter, energy and time gives a contemporary culture the picture that reality is a “closed box” – a “cosmic cube” – in which there is no room for anything that cannot be sensually or materially perceived. The problem is that with the lid of this cosmic box closed with sovereign Creator God excluded, is that philosophy is deprived of a universal reference point and thus crippled in its “scientific quest for reality.” As a result, it cannot answer the most basic questions about right and wrong behavior. What does it look like? The “nothing beyond star stuff” Cosmic cube implications are that nothing exists outside the cube. The God-rejecting world system is looking for answers to life’s questions inside the box of a cosmic cube, when the answers are outside the box with God. 

Romans 12:2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”



In Christ, Brian