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Waiting on the Lord – June 30

  • “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” – (Psalm 27:14)

Everyone knows the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho. God commanded the Israelites to march around Jericho once a day for six days, then seven times on the seventh day. Upon doing so, the walls came crashing down. Why not just walk around Jericho one time? I think it was because God was testing their faith.

God was teaching them that waiting time is not wasted time. Isaiah 28:16 says, “He that believeth shall not make haste.” God is never in a hurry, like we are. He is always in control. Do you know what our problem is? We’ve been around Jericho six times and we’re ready to quit. Just wait on the Lord. Say with the psalmist: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, June

 

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The Love of Money – June 29

  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Greed is everywhere. And while we like to relegate it to the “fat cats” on Wall Street, greed is just as prevalent in the typical home as families try to “keep up with the Joneses” and acquire more and more toys and gadgets. And Christians, they aren’t immune; most can’t give to the widow or orphan because they’re in so much debt.

Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is. So instead of greed, choose contentment. Fulfillment never comes from worldly goods; it comes from a genuine trust in the work of Jesus Christ. Don’t let money be your idol, but stay firmly committed to God, knowing that all you have belongs to Him!

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, Finances, June

 

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Gnosticism and Christianity

Christianity and Gnosticism are mutually exclusive systems of belief. The principles of Gnosticism contradict several essential doctrines of Christianity. Therefore, while some forms of Gnosticism may claim to be Christian, they are in fact decidedly non-Christian.

Although a variety of beliefs may be traced to the different sects under the umbrella of Gnosticism, the prominent doctrines of the “Great Gnostic” sects, in variant forms, presented the following basic ideas:

  1. A transcendent (above and beyond human experience) and ineffable (inexpressible and unutterable) deity who is pure spirit.
  2. A dualism between spirit and matter, which necessitated a chain of emanated beings (each a little lower in supremacy) in order to link the deity with matter.
  3. A split within the chain of emanated beings, which resulted in the creation of material things and man by a Demiurge (a supernatural being imagined as creating or fashioning the world in subordination to the “supreme being” and sometimes regarded as the originator of evil).
  4. A spark of the divine implanted in man at his creation.
  5. The redemption and release of this divine spark by means of illumination through increased knowledge, resulting in self-awareness and a high level of insight, which is attained by a select and privileged few.
  6. A Christ who redeems by being the Revelator or Illuminator rather than the suffering Savior.
  7. Salvation by knowledge, essentially self-knowledge.

Gnosticism was perhaps the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church during the first three centuries. There is debate whether or not this is a Christian heresy or simply an independent development which predated the life of Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, the Gnostics laid claim to Jesus as a great teacher of theirs and drew much attention from the early Christian church.  It is very possible that 1 John was written against some of the errors that Gnosticism promoted.

At the time John was writing, a false sect had arisen which became known as Gnosticism (Gk. “gnosis” = knowledge).  These Gnostics professed to be Christians but claimed to have “additional knowledge,” superior to what the apostles taught.  They claimed that a person could not be completely fulfilled until he had been initiated into their deeper “truths.”  Some taught that matter was evil, and that therefore the Man Jesus could not be God.  They made a distinction between Jesus and the Christ.  “The Christ” was divine emanation which came upon Jesus at His baptism and left before His death, perhaps in the Garden of Gethsemane.  According to them, Jesus “did” die, but the Christ did “not” die.  They insisted, as Michael Green put it, that “the heavenly Christ was too holy and spiritual to be soiled by permanent contact with human flesh.”  In short, they denied the Incarnation, that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus Christ is both God and Man.

Coupled with the denial of the Incarnation and deity of Christ, the Gnostics denied the substitutional death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.  To the Gnostics, not only could Christ not have taken on evil human flesh, but as a divine being, He could not have taken on sin for any purpose.  Therefore the Gnostic denied that God through Christ paid the penalty-price for the sin of man by means of His spiritual death on the cross of Calvary; rather, they held Christ up as a divine teacher and it was through His teachings and revelations that man was to evolve intellectually into a higher state of self-awareness, which was man’s salvation. Such views destroy not only the true humanity of Jesus, but also the atonement, for Jesus must not only have been fully God, but also fully man who actually suffered and died upon the cross in order to be the acceptable substitutionary sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 2:14-17). The biblical view of Jesus affirms His complete humanity as well as His full deity.

On the matter of salvation, Gnosticism teaches that salvation is gained through the acquisition of divine knowledge which frees one from the illusions of darkness. Although they claim to follow Jesus Christ and His original teachings, Gnostics contradict Him at every turn. Jesus said nothing about salvation through knowledge, but by faith in Him as Savior from sin. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, the salvation Christ offers is free and available to everyone (John 3:16), not just a select few who have acquired a special revelation.

Christianity asserts that there is one source of Truth and that is the Bible, the inspired Word of the living God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice (John 17:172 Timothy 3:15-17Hebrews 4:12). It is God’s written revelation to mankind and is never superseded by man’s thoughts, ideas, writings, or visions. The Gnostics, on the other hand, use a variety of early heretical writings known as the Gnostic gospels, a collection of forgeries claiming to be “lost books of the Bible.” Thankfully, the early church fathers were nearly unanimous in recognizing these Gnostic scrolls as fraudulent forgeries that espouse false doctrines about Jesus Christ, salvation, God, and every other crucial Christian truth. There are countless contradictions between the Gnostic “gospels” and the Bible. Even when the so-called Christian Gnostics quote from the Bible, they rewrite verses and parts of verses to harmonize with their philosophy, a practice that is strictly forbidden and warned against by Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:212:32Proverbs 30:6;Revelation 22:18-19).

Let us follow the Apostle Paul who said to “test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and this we do by comparing everything to the Word of God, the only Truth.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Apologetics, Church History, Heresy

 

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Parable of the Rich Fool – June 28

  • And Jesus told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

What do you treasure? Are you enamored with big homes, fast cars, and expensive clothing? Do you desire the things of the world or the things of God? Despite what some false teachers proclaim, you are not entitled to “your best life now.” You are entitled only what God sees fit to give. Your name, your fame, your health, and your wealth are God’s. He gives and takes away. Do the work of the Lord. “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, June

 

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Why We Pray – June 27

  • Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)

Here we see Jesus instructing the disciples to always pray; we also see Paul command the church in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5). Yet you may wonder why you need to talk to God about your needs since “your Father knows what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

It is part of God’s grand scheme that we have been given the privilege to cooperate with God in prayer. Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is laying hold of His willingness. Ephesians 6:18 tells us to always “pray in the Spirit.” As the Holy Spirit places thoughts on your heart, you are to submit those thoughts to God in prayer. In doing so, you are part of a closed circuit that begins with God and ends with God. Prayer is the reflection of a dependency on God, it is the continual willingness to submit ourselves to His authority in all things.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, June, Prayer

 

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The Heart and God – June 27

  • “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
“Just follow your heart and you can’t go wrong.” Those who offer such advice don’t understand that “The heart is more deceitful than all else” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).  However, when the heart is consumed by the work of Jesus Christ, it begins desiring the things of God.  God wants us to desire Him completely, to seek His will above our own. When we surrender our heart to Him, the Holy Spirit then works so that it is our heart continually searching for His heart.  In this we find God and His infinite wisdom.
 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, June

 

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Running The Race – June 26

The other day, my son Evan and I agreed to take a run together.  He was not quite ready and I said I’d start, since he could easily catch up.  I kept looking back to see how far I was going to get before he caught me, and then I had this thought.  This is a picture of our lives.  How far can we get before death catches us?  How far can we get in the walk, the work, and the war before our privilege to serve Christ here is over?
– Bob Jennings
 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Daily Thoughts, June

 

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