Archive for the 'Bible' Category

02
Apr
17

The Evangelicals’ Choice

The evangelicals’ previous choice.

_________

The evangelicals’ current choice.

__________

The evangelical future choice?

[T]hat Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

16
Mar
17

Making [ your nation ] Great Again. The Sequel

What are the priorities and practices of man’s nationalistic politics and where does YOUR heart lie?

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

(Isaiah 5)

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

(James 1)

Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

(James 2)

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

(Matthew 6)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

(1 Tim 6)

_____________

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

10
Mar
17

David Pawson: Letter to the Church at Pergamon

 

note the armchair-like shape of the altar.

 

The teaching in the video below, about the letter to the church at Pergamon (Rev 2), came up in the comments section of an earlier thread, regarding its reference to the altar of Pergamon (now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin). Pawson associates that altar with the throne of Satan, mentioned in Jesus’s letter

 

 
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

 

13
Feb
17

Golgotha Reworked

A major local exhibition is approaching, but I’ve done very little painting over the last year or two.  I missed the same event in 2016, but want to participate this year.

My hope of completing one or two new works has been undermined by the weather. It’s been too hot to work in my garage studio. This month we’ve only had one day below 30 degrees C, and throughout January it was the same. Most days we’ve been in the high 30s, with a few over 40 degrees C. Not the best conditions for painting in an uncooled garage.

As a compromise I’ve looked back at some of my earlier paintings and have decided to rework one of the larger canvases. What started out as this:

golgotha

 

Now looks more like this:

 

 

golgotha

The difference in the crucifixion image is an illusion caused by different lighting conditions when the two photos were taken.

No change was made to that part of the painting.

More work needs to be done, but at this stage I’m considering two or three different ideas. Entries for the exhibition need to be in by 3rd March, so I have a little over two weeks to finish my changes.

 

28
Dec
16

Believing God?

I suspect the Lord tailors his teaching to our different capabilities of learning. But while the way we learn may be unique to each individual, the overall intent of the lesson will always be the same: an understanding that conforms to God’s nature and purposes that can be confirmed through a proper addressing of scripture.
But the intended outcome is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but deeper relationship with Him and others.

Throughout my Christian life I’ve learned a lot through experience, making a lot of mistakes and taking many wrong paths before stepping back to consider why things went so unexpectedly wrong.
Perhaps out of that, the most important thing the Lord has opened up to me is the need to test everything. What Paul wrote with regard to prophecy can be applied to all areas of revelation and learning: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”.
It’s very easy to be attracted by something “good” and then fall for something “evil” – IF we bypass the testing.

I think back around 30 years ago when I was hooked by word of faith teaching. The thing that caught my attention and drew me in was a LEGITIMATE understanding of faith.
A group of friends were bombarding me with arguments recommending the Copelands’ WOF teachings, and in the process (despite their arguments rather than because of them – and I wish I’d realised that at the time) I finally understood something about faith that took it out of the realm of wishful thinking and to a place of greater certainty.

I suddenly saw that Christian faith was simply believing God and His word even when sensory and intellectual evidence seemed to be “proving” something else.

That was the good and if I’d stopped there and studied the Word for myself I might have avoided the bad: a lot of false teaching that took me in a wrong direction. But instead of searching the scriptures for myself to develop my understanding, I searched the Copeland’s teachings and relied on the particular spin THEY placed on the “faith message”.

What I find disappointing now is that I could see that a large portion of their teaching was (at best) questionable, but I pushed my reservations aside.

I can now recognise that by taking that path I wasn’t really believing God and His word, (as per that revealed understanding of faith) I was “believing” what Copeland told me ABOUT God’s word, without actually checking it out for myself to see if he was addressing it correctly, according to its intended context.

I said above that Christian faith is simply believing God and His word. Yes it IS as simple as that. But what is not necessarily so simple is being sure that it is REALLY God and His Word that we are believing. It is extremely easy to pick up wrong ideas that create a distorted understanding of God, and that is where so much of WOF teaching is in error. Its view of God and his purposes are created out of selected parts of scripture, usually applied with no consideration for the intended context of those scripture portions.

It is essential that we develop an overview – an understanding of the broad scope of scripture, and not be satisfied with bits and pieces that seem to support what we want to believe.

21
Oct
16

the iniquitous flourish

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

 

O LORD, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.
A senseless man does not know,
Nor does a fool understand this.
When the wicked spring up like grass,
And when all the workers of iniquity flourish,
It is that they may be destroyed forever.

(From Psalm 92)

As we look at the world today and see “wicked spring up like grass” and “the workers of iniquity flourish”, it isn’t a result of chance, or political circumstance. It isn’t the result of elections, and can’t be avoided by support given to a “lesser of two evils”.

My reading of this portion of the Psalm is that God is behind it – letting the wicked heap judgement upon themselves. “Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie”

He gives those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”, over to that unrighteousness” and allows them to prosper (for a short time), storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed. (Romans 1 and 2).

We all have choices.
We either belong to the Kingdom of God or the kingdoms of men.
We either love the Kingdom of God or the Kingdoms of men
We either serve the Kingdom of God or the kingdoms of men.
We are either concerned with the Kingdom of God or the kingdoms of men.
We either side with the Kingdom of God or the kingdoms of men.
We either side with God’s anointed, righteous King and promote Him, or we side with man’s chosen, unrighteous “kings” and promote them.
We either promote the gospel of truth, or we promote the lies of man.
We either choose  and proclaim the King who IS Truth, or we choose and proclaim a “king” we know to be a liar.

22
Jun
16

Alphabet Soup on the Menu?

It seems impossible to go through life today without coming across that ever increasing chain of initials LGBTQI ETC.; coined to represent a multiplication of sexual/gender identities.

alphabet soup

Increasingly, such “identities” are being accepted into main stream society and those who have a problem with this are portrayed as narrow-minded, behind the times, bigots or that favoured misnomer “homophobes”, which narrows down objections to being fear centred  and rejecting other possible motivation for people’s concerns.

Laws are being changed to accommodate, and school curricula are being redrawn to educate upcoming generations about the normalcy and acceptability of a variety of e sexual/gender alternatives. In Australia this recently included a school’s program introduced under the name of an anti-bullying campaign, and around the western world the traditional understanding of marriage is being redefined.

tardisPopular entertainment has also joined in – even family and children’s programming include homosexual relationships as an acceptable part of society. Doctor Who, a show I grew up with from it’s very first episodes in the early 60s, in its latest incarnation has featured same sex marriage as nothing out of the ordinary. Recently I saw an article suggesting that a sequel to Disney’s Frozen should include its main female character, Elsa, finding love with another woman, and even more recently it’s been suggested that characters in a current Disney cartoon are a same sex couple.

As a Christian living in a secular society I see this issue presents some significant difficulties.

There is the reality of violence directed against homosexuals that can’t in any way be condoned. I recall witnessing a bashing a few decades ago, of a homosexual man in a popular pub. The perpetrators were allegedly off-duty policemen. While I couldn’t verify that allegation, the men had unusually short hair for the fashion of the times, so their appearance added to that perception. Nothing can justify or excuse that kind of violence against anyone.
There is also the issue of the confusion and trauma experienced by those with a same sex attraction as they wrestle with society’s historical hostility and also with their own conscience. Sadly this struggle has sometimes ended in suicide.

The church has often been seen as a primary contributor to that state of mind, bringing condemnation upon people for having feelings that are generally beyond their control. Making homosexuality an easy target, while they brush aside some of their own attitudes and practices that are given more biblical pages of condemnation than homosexuality is given. (Why should greed, heterosexual lust and exploitation of the vulnerable be more tolerable?)

So, there is the question of how Christians OUGHT to respond to the increasing influence and acceptance of the diverse sexual and gender identities within western society, while staying true to the God they profess to follow. Should we merely go with the flow, recognising a need to keep up with the times and changing cultural values? That seems to be the expectation of secular society: that the church needs to change and adapt or die.

Or should we assume that God’s standards aren’t influenced by man’s fickle philosophies and that church survival isn’t dependant on following them?

Jesus said that the gates of hades wouldn’t prevail against His church. While many assume that statement refers to the forces of the devil not prevailing against the church, it should be recognised that hades (or hell) is NEVER referred to in scripture as the domain or kingdom of Satan or demons. cemeteryInstead the term is a reference to the grave, the equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol. Therefore Jesus’ statement is an assurance that His church will not die out, will not be overcome by death – no matter how far the world’s standards deviate from the Godly standards upheld by His true church. So there’s no need for the church to sway with the breeze, following every fad of an increasingly secular world in the hope of surviving.

Instead of following the world’s standards of acceptability, disciples of Jesus should be following HIM, even when that puts us at odds with the world; something that WILL increasingly happen, the further the world’s values move away from God’s.

So how should Christians respond? How do we take into account and act in accordance with God’s standards as revealed through scripture?

1) Recognise that God is the Creator and the one who determines what is right or wrong within His creation. Man’s opinion changes nothing except on an individual level where a person’s choices determine where they stand with God. Are they with Him, submitting to His ways, or are they against Him, choosing something else in place of Him?
2) Be aware that God sees homosexual acts as detestable, leaving no room for legitimacy. Such acts are also described in scripture as shameful and vile passions.
3) Know that men are men, women are women, boys are boys, girls are girls – determined by biology and not by personal choice, desire or whim. Man’s relativist philosophies might allow alternative choices, but God’s standard of truth doesn’t.
4) There is a difference between same sex attraction and homosexual acts, just as there is a difference between heterosexual attraction and illicit sexual activity between male and female. We can’t choose who we’ll be attracted to, but we can choose how we respond to that attraction. No one should be judged or condemned for the kind of temptations they face.
5) We are not entitled to respond to homosexual individuals or communities with hatred, aggression or violence of any kind – including verbal. The “God hates fags” brigade is NOT a valid representation of God and His Gospel.
6) Homosexual acts should not be singled out above other sins – it is far too easy to see our own sin as being more forgivable than sin we are not personally involved with.
7) Taking and expressing a biblically sound stance on the issue of homosexuality will increasingly lead to the Christian being marginalised and vilified. Ironically, the more acceptance of the LGBT agenda grows, the less acceptance there will be of those standing for God’s agenda.
8) God desires repentance from ALL. He desires that ALL will be saved. He excludes no individual from His gift of salvation; but we can exclude ourselves by ignoring or refusing His gift. We can exclude ourselves by making the world and secular society our standard of truth.




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