Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Lysa TerKeurst is coming to Athens. Do not go see her.

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is coming to Athens, GA.

I strongly recommend that you not go see Lysa Terkeurst. Avoid her.

terkeurst

Here’s why.

First, about her: Her website states Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. She is also a speaker at conferences and a daily blogger. She is also wife and mom to 5 kids.

Here are some reasons to strongly consider avoiding Lysa TerKeurst in all her venues but especially in person when she arrives at Athens.  These are in no particular order. All are a concern.

terkeurst 4

1. Lysa’s home church is Elevation Church led by pastor Steven Furtick. Furtick is a prosperity teacher who opposes deep doctrine and mocks those who enjoy it, and has taken the title of Super Apostle. He also unsurprisingly preaches blasphemous things.

On August 9, 2016 in the Uninvited Book Release party held at Elevation on behalf of Lysa, (photo above) she once again claimed Elevation as her church and Furtick as her pastor, violating the degree of separation from false teachers demanded by the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 5:7). Instead, she partners with them.  (source- Uninvited Book Release Celebration webcast).

1a. In another recent partnership, Lysa recently spoke alongside these men, including Mark Driscoll, who is false. Aside from Furtick, an additional two have been fired from their pastorates for being unqualified because they fell below reproach. (1 Timothy 3:2). Not excellent. TerKeurst should be separating herself from these ‘leaders’, not supporting, promoting, and partnering with them.

terkeurst 1

terkeurst 2
The person speaking here is Perry Noble, who was fired from NewSpring Church 5 months later. Driscoll had already quit ahead of certain discipline
and likely firing from Mars Hill Church.

A student will rise no higher than her teacher. So ladies, avoid Lysa TerKeurst, because her teachers, associates, and spiritual influences are very low.

2. Lysa preaches at the pulpit and at other venues in church, to men, violating a basic and clear scripture that women must not do so.

Source 1, TerKeurst at the Sunday morning service at Perry Noble’s church NewSpring;

Source 2, Steven Furtick introducing TerKeurst’s series of Sunday morning messages at Elevation Church, messages based NOT on the word of God but as a church they instead studied her book The Best Yes. Can you imagine not only violating a clear scripture that women do not preach, but using your own book as the basis for the message?!

Source 3, Mark Batterson (who is another false teacher), introducing TerKeurst at his church and asking the audience to receive the word she is about to bring.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

(1 Timothy 2:12). Also see 1 Corinthians 14:34. As Michelle Lesley said in her piece on TerKeurst,

If a woman is supposedly knowledgeable enough about the Bible to be in the position of teaching and authoring, yet doesn’t understand or obey such a basic biblical truth, what does that say about the rest of her knowledge of the Bible? How can you trust that anything else she teaches you about the Bible is accurate and true?

If you follow Lysa you are partnering with her in her usurping rebellion, which is a sin. (James 4:17).

3. Lysa TerKerst teaches how to listen for the voice of God and to receive personal revelations.

As Learn to Discern Granny cited, with source page numbers from her book, Uninvited, TerKeurst teaches that if you’re silent you’ll receive secrets and whispers and new information from Jesus, directly.

Now, Lysa also confesses she hears whispers from God. She relates, “I’ve got to spend time getting quiet so I can be prepared to hear new things from the Lord. Isn’t it a lovely thought that God might be waiting for silence … in order to share some of His best secrets with you? … in the silence, He whispered to my soul, You are not set aside, you are set apart ….” (p.112). Much like Sarah Young’s messages in Jesus Calling, Lysa, too, is saying she gets new revelations from the Lord.

Ladies, the canon is closed. (Revelation 22:18-19). Jesus is not currently speaking to individuals. He did that Himself in His incarnation, and via the Apostles and NT writers via His Spirit.

Therefore it is not surprising that TerKeurst teaches how to hear the voice of God in her video and pamphlet, also does so in prayer journals for sale and a book called Saying Yes to God.

For example, she said at her book release party, emphasis mine:

I have this feeling that Uninvited is not going to be just a book. I have a deep feeling in my heart Jesus has decided that too many of His people have been held back by rejection. I want to know if you are in this room tonight and you are ready to embrace that the devil might be vicious but he will not be victorious. Can I get an Amen! Uninvited Book Release Celebration webcast

Bible teachers should not be saying they have any inkling at all of what Jesus has decided. Of all the things on this page and of the ones I listened to and read, this is the worst for me. It is highly dangerous for a ‘Bible’ teacher to go around purporting to speak for the secret things that Jesus has decided in His power and will. It is a gross perversion of our calling as submissive witnesses to His glory and exaltation.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9).

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:35).

Please avoid Lysa TerKeurst for these and other reasons, as noted in the articles linked below (which also have further links). It’s one thing when teachers such as this are ‘out there,’ but when they come to my city, a college town with vulnerable Christians and new babes in Christ who sit in the pews with me, it’s another thing entirely.

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Further Reading

Michelle Lesley has written graciously and fairly about Lysa, here: Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries

Discerning Granny reviewed Lysa’s 2016 book, Uninvited hereA Review of Lysa TerKeurst’s Book: Uninvited

Grace To You: What is Biblical discernment and why is it important?

Ligonier: What is discernment?

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

His steadfast love endures forever

This essay first appeared on The End Time in January 2014. Encouragement never goes out of style.

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It’s so strange. More than a few people in my circle (both internet and real life) have said that their recent days and weeks have been full of trials and difficulties. Things have popped into their life seemingly out of nowhere, and caused trouble and trials, heartache and hurt.

For others, they have said or written that discernment is hard work, and they are tired. I’m tired too. The flood of falsity is just a tsunami now. Not only do we get discouraged because the spotless name of Jesus is constantly dragged through the mud, but our friends and family might be falling under the sway of a false teacher or doctrine, and we just want to cry and tear our hair out.

Lately, people really need encouragement and grace more than ever. Let’s give it to them just as we would like to receive it from other people when we are in a bad way.

Yesterday and today I’ve been unsettled myself, so my go-to is always prayer, and bible reading. It really helps to pray to Jesus, we know He listens.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

It helps more, I’ve found, to pray for other people when I’m unsettled. Focusing on others helps me put my problems into perspective. It also gives me the joy of lifting another person up to Jesus for their benefit, being obedient to the scriptures. (James 5:16; Ephesians 6:18)

As for my other security blanket in addition to prayer, it is reading His word. There is nothing like it. I read Psalm 136 this afternoon and the recurring refrain in the psalm is:

“his steadfast love endures forever”

He loves us–(a gift in itself!)
His love is steadfast; faithful, immovable–(amazing!)
His love is forever; speaking to His eternality. (FOREVER!!)

My oh my, what a gift. No wonder the psalmist spends so much time in exhorting thanks! The psalm continues to outline His attributes and His works. It is just beautiful. I posted it below so you can read it here. Friends, if you are going through something, or hurting, or just plain weak and tired, read the psalms. Read the word. Pray. Here is Psalm 136. I hope it blesses you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever

god's love for us verse
EPrata photo

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

“Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures”

Firmly ensconced in English Hymnody, no one is quite sure where this gem came from. First seen as a poem in a Scottish Bible in 1594, and published intermittently as a stand alone poem, a hymn, or a text-feature in various Bibles, this piece extols the virtue of our ‘incomparable treasure’ of the Holy Bible. In the 1846 book titled Wanderings of a Pilgrim in the Shadow of Mont Blanc by George Barrell Cheever, the author tells us that the poem appeared in nearly all the copies of the Geneva editions of the translations of the Bible, which was made during the reign of Queen Mary by those illustrious exiles John Knox, Miles Coverdale, Anthony Gilby, Christopher Gilman, and others.

Though its origins may be a mystery, its point is made beautifully clear in moving verse.

Enjoy!

Here is the spring where waters flow,
To quench our heat of sin;
Here is the tree where truth doth grow
To lead our lives therein;

Here is the judge that stints the strife
When men’s devises fail:
Here is the bread that feeds the life
Which death cannot assail.

The tidings of salvation dear
Comes to our ears from hence;
The fortress of our faith is here;
The shield of our defence.

Then be not like the hog that hath
A pearl at his desire,
And takes more pleasure in the trough
And wallowing in the mire.

Read not this book in any case
But with a single eye:
Read not, but first desire GOD’s grace,
To understand thereby.

Pray still in faith with this respect
To fructify therein;
That knowledge may bring this effect,
To mortify thy sin.

Then happy thou in all thy life,
Whatso to thee befalls;
Yea, doubly happy shalt thou be
When GOD by death thee calls.

water
Our Lord’s word is a never-ending, refreshing, bountiful stream of water
Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The view from space: “We are all so unbelievably small”

God is majestic. He is enormous in power, might, will, strength, and mind. He made the universe in 6 successive, literal days, with just His voice. He created all the stars and named them also. This achievement is incredible to wrap our minds around, especially since we as humans are self-centered and myopic. We can’t conceive of exactly how big the universe is partly because we’re seeking our own glory which blinds us to it. We tend to magnify our own selves as a human race. (Genesis 11:1-9).

We also diminish God in His power, especially because He is invisible. (John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:8). However, God created the universe, moon, sun, and earth as a sign to us sinful creatures who in our pre-salvation state, do not know Him. As it says in Romans 1:18-20,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

It’s highly important to believe and understand that Genesis 1 is literal. It is not poetry, allegory, or hyperbole. It is lyrical, to be sure, but it is a record of actual history as it happened. It is revealed to us by the One and only witness to its creation: Jehovah.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.
(Revelation 4:11.)

When Paul preached to the Gentiles, he used creation to convict them of God’s existence. (Acts 14:15; 17:24-26.) He then used that truth in the Gospel’s proclamation. By this, we know that Paul believed the opening chapters of Genesis as historical fact as revealed.

I’ve felt an increasing burden for the evangelical world’s compromise of and even outright rejection of Genesis 1 as literal fact. On blogs, I see that when asked, major ministries claim that Genesis 1/literal creation/young earth is a tangential issue not appropriate to bring up in evangelism. Yet Paul used creation and Genesis 1 as the foundation of evangelism in Acts and Romans!

In personal conversations with people they tell me that Genesis 1 isn’t a battleground because, well, the Gospel isn’t there. But it is! Genesis 1 & 2 demonstrate the Creator to whom we are all responsible.  Genesis 3 shows us the reason we need the Gospel and contains the protoevangelium.

I’ve been feeling this burden for Genesis 1 for a few months now. I intuit that it is from the Lord and that it is in my heart and mind for a reason. I’ll be writing about it, I surmise, several times in upcoming blogs.

Today’s point I’d be pleased that you take away is that preaching a literal Genesis 1 aligns with the foundational truth Paul used when he preached to the Gentiles.  Preaching Genesis 1’s literal and 6-day creation doesn’t have the same impact, say, if you were to tell the Gentile it’s just a poem.

Please watch this short video to see how unbelievably small we are, and by comparison how unbelievably big God is. I don’t think it is produced with a Creation/Creator perspective in mind, but it is factual and amazing nonetheless.

Scripture cannot be broken, and the battle for Genesis 1 as literal and historical is the primary and starting hill to die on.

 

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching

With the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation coming upon us October 31, many people are looking to history and learning Martin Luther and his the men that came before him.

Martin Luther is generally acknowledged to have been a main spark to the Protestant Reformation. Protestant comes from the word protest, which Luther’s 95 Theses sparked against the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses of indulgences (sin absolution for hire) and other abuses.

The Reformation didn’t happen because Martin Luther put the 95 Theses on the door to Wittenberg Chapel. It happened because the Word was unleashed. ~Mark McAndrew, North Avenue Church

Here, John MacArthur explains in a 1:33 clip How unhindered access to God’s Word changed history.

William Tyndale, John Hus, and many others were executed for translating or preaching the Word in the people’s language. The Roman Catholic Church prevented the Catholics from reading the Word themselves and from possessing and reading a Bible. Mass was performed in Latin. The RCC was fearful that if the people got a-hold of the Word, they would be uncontrollable. So it was restricted. For a thousand years.

William Tyndale: “Let it not make thee despair, neither yet discourage thee, O reader, that it is forbidden thee in pain of life and goods, or that it is made breaking of the king’s peace, or treason unto his highness, to read the Word of thy soul’s health—for if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes.”Christianity Today

Read the word for thy soul’s health. When push comes to shove, and you are undergoing a tragedy and need comfort, or are under conviction and need some solace, the pastor’s witty anecdote is not going to help you. The pastor’s fad-driven bullet point topical sermon is not going to help you. The greatest help we have is the Word- with the Spirit to illuminate us to our mind. There is nothing like the word, because it is alive.

Let each true church commit to expository preaching. What IS expository preaching?

Expository preaching involves the exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of the Scripture; that is, expository preaching presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. The word exposition is related to the word expose — the expository preacher’s goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse. Source

Read the word to the people, explain what it means in context, repeat next Sunday.

Do we need fancy stunts? Do we need extreme stage lights and fog machines? Do we need motivational speeches? Do we need to change the church so we can attract the goats seekers and meet their “felt needs“? Do we need to ditch everything and be radical, wild at heart manly men?
No.

Martyn Lloyd Jones said,

Another argument that I would adduce at this point is that the moment you begin to turn from preaching to these other expedients you will find yourself undergoing a constant series of changes.

Does your church still do the Prayer of Jabez? Undergo 40 Days of Purpose? Wear a WWJD bracelet? Maintain membership in Promise Keepers? Are you still renovating your prayer closet/war room? Do you see how many changes you have to make when you focus on the world and its church fads? If you preach the word, it does not change. It may change you, but it does not change. John MacArthur has been preaching it from the same pulpit for nearly 50 years. He reads the word to the people, explains what it means in context, repeats next Sunday. I hope your pastor does too.

Expositors today preach the Word. The evangelists in the Second and First Great Awakenings preached the Word. The Reformers preached the Word. Apostle Paul preached the Word. Jesus preached the Word. Ezra preached the Word. Noah preached the Word.

Knowing the blood of the martyrs soaks the ground under thousands of stakes, how dare we insert our own words, opinions, fads, and stunts onto the pulpit? Men died for this Word to be preached. Jesus as the Word suffered and absorbed all God’s wrath for the elect so this word would go out and be preached.

Pastors, please exposit the word.

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Questions: Preaching Christ from every text?, Muslim dreams, Female submission

Here are answers to some pressing questions I’ve seen asked over the last few weeks.

Should we preach Christ from every text? Answer: no. By Abner Chou, The Master’s Seminary, October 2017.

In essence, the Christocentric hermeneutic attempts to find Christ as the subject or topic of every text. It desires to show that every text relates directly to Christ. Which is why some say it is the only true Christian preaching. The problem ensues when the Christocentric hermeneutic applies that mindset to texts that don’t call for it.

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Are droves of Muslims coming to faith in Christ via dreams and visions? Answer: No. Gary Gilley explains by comparing to scripture, in this essay from 2016.

Jesus used a variety of approaches when speaking with unbelievers, depending on the individual or group (e.g., Nicodemus, Rich Young Ruler, Woman at the Well), but typically He identified who He was, confronted their sin, called them to repentance, called them to believe in Him, cautioned them to count the cost of discipleship, and admonished them to take up their crosses daily and follow Him. He didn’t state all those elements in every case, but collectively they constituted the thrust of His message

By way of contrast, Isa [Muslim version of Jesus] typically identifies who he is (or the dreamer instinctively knows who he is) and tells the dreamer he loves him and wants him (the dreamer) to follow him (Isa). Sometimes the dreamer is overwhelmed with a sense of love and peace just by being in Isa’s presence (which was never the case with unbelievers in the presence of Jesus). So the message that emerges is one of believing in Isa and following him apparently apart from the Holy Spirit convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).

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Do women have to submit to all men? How can we demonstrate that although the roles of men and women in the church (and the home) are very different, we are equal in value in the sight of God?

To answer your question, women are to submit to their husbands.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

All church members are to submit to their overseers.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)

We are all to submit to God.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 5:7.

We all have to submit to government. Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17

Women do not have to submit to random males.

We believers are all of equal value in the sight of God. This value is from above, it is not attached to man-made standards of who has what role. We do not have to demonstrate this love, God already has.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27).

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).

wedding verse

 

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

When did co-pastor married couples become acceptable?

In 2007 Thabiti Anyabwile wrote:

It was once a rising trend. It’s now a model for ministry for significant numbers of churches and pastors. It simultaneously offers itself as an example of deep partnership between husbands and wives, and dismisses biblical instruction. What am I talking about? The widespread approach to pastoral ministry where a husband and a wife “co-pastor” a local church.

Co-pastoring in this case refers to churches where the male pastor and his wife are listed as equal pastors of the flock. Since that article above was written ten years ago, co-ed co-pastors are touted as something acceptable – desirable even.

These two are not married but are in a co-ed, egalitarian pastorate.

 

Not just co-pastor, but co-SENIOR pastor. Bobbie loves them titles.
V. Osteen: co-pastoring, which dilutes her motherly duties, is not a good trade.
This article is from Christianity Today. No wonder
the magazine’s nickname is Christianity Astray

I remember the Presidential election of 1992. Bill Clinton was running. His wife is Hillary Clinton. Clinton used to brag that “America was getting two for the price of one.”

It was during the 1992 presidential campaign that Arkansas governor Bill Clinton — the nation’s first baby-boomer presidential candidate, running against President George H. W. Bush — used the phrase “two for the price of one.” This twofer concept was Clinton’s quaint way of bragging (to the delight of feminists) that his wife, Hillary, an accomplished corporate lawyer and fellow Yale Law School graduate, was going to play a major role in his administration well beyond that of a traditional First Lady. (National Review)

How did that work out for them? Hillary led a Health Care Reform that crashed spectacularly and she was publicly humiliated. Then Whitewater Scandal happened and things got worse.

From the moment she dazzled Capitol Hill last autumn (‘In future the President will be known as your husband,’ Dan Rostenkowski, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, gushed at one appearance) Hillary has been her plan’s most potent weapon. No longer. In Washington more than anywhere, vulnerability equals weakness. Today Hillary Clinton is vulnerable; so, therefore, is Bill Clinton. ‘Two for the price of one’ has turned from blessing into curse. (The Independent UK, 1994

America was not impressed with the twofer Presidency. Even less so, are Christians impressed with a twofer pastorate.

Simply put, the Bible forbids women preaching. Church teaching is meant for the men to perform. The leading is to be done by the men.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (1 Timothy 2:12).

Elders/overseers/pastors are to be “above reproach”, and “a man”. (Titus 1:5-8).

Installing a “twofer” pastorate, whether both are paid or not, formal or informal, defacto or explicit, is unbiblical.

At a recent Grace Community Church Q&A a man asked John MacArthur,

“Would you ever allow your wife to preach?”

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

We’re not THAT bad of sinners, are we??

Who goes to heaven?

“I’m a pretty good person. I’m going to heaven for sure.”

“I’m nice. Definitely I’m going to heaven.”

“I’m certainly not a Hitler! It’s people like serial killers or dictators that won’t go to heaven.”

If you’re like me, you hear comments like that all the time. I used to think that I was nice enough and that I was headed for heaven too.

But then a little worm of doubt would set in. I’m nice, most people are nice, but if that was true why is the world like it is? Why would heaven be any different than earth if all the same people just transfer from here to there?

In witnessing to people and telling them they are sinners as I am, they reject almost instantly the notion that their sins would prevent them from going to heaven. This is because they compare their sins to other people, and always the worst people, of course. Hitler, Idi Amin, OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Dahmer… now those are some bad people. I’m not like them. Ergo, I am heaven bound.

Trying to let people know the level of their depravity is a hard task. Even most Christians don’t truly understand the depths to which our sin have plunged. I’m reminded often by the Holy Spirit that no matter how wretched I know I am, there are still many layers of muck I can sink to. I’m often astonished at how deep my sin goes.

We’re not good. We’re bad. As a matter of fact, we’re a lot worse than we think.

Unsaved people will balk at this truth. We’re wretched, really putrid. Here is an example from the bible of how wretched we are.

As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. (Acts 16:16-19).

demons
EPrata collage

Notwithstanding the issue of slavery, the owners of the girl were using her to get rich. She had a demon and that demon could access the world behind the veil and prophesy unknown things. Since people have always been curious about the future and what is hidden to us, they paid good money to hear fortunes told.

When the owners saw that their means of gain was gone, they roused a riot and went to the lawmakers and decision-makers for redress.

They did not celebrate that the girl had been delivered. They were not happy that her very body was now released from use by a potent spirit. They did not care that this young, vulnerable girl had been used by demons. They were only ticked that their fortune was vaporizing.

This is exactly the same situation as a child molester kingpin now ticked that his best girl had been saved out of his grip. Exactly. The. Same. This is deep wretchedness. We are sinners through and through. Do not think for a moment that your sin (and mine) is not as bad. It is and it could and would wax worse and worse had not the Lord saved your soul.

This link goes to a short bio of this young girl from BibleGateway, called All the Women of the Bible: The Demon-Possessed Damsel. It is extremely interesting.

We are wretches, sinners and we are due the righteous penalty for our sin. But God…if not for Him…if not for His proactive election of those who would become His… Oh! Oh!

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

He loved us despite our wretchedness. He loved us despite our dirtiness. He loved us anyway. I’m eternally grateful for His love. I’m eternally relieved He has dealt with my sin. It is now forgotten, nailed to the cross, and as far from the east is from the west.

Thank you Lord for dealing with my wretched sin in this magnificent way you have ordained.

unspeakable glory
EPrata art
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Righteousness v. Wealth

I was saying last night at Bible Study that I live paycheck to paycheck. The relentlessness of always minding the budget and working assiduously to stretch it to the end of the month gets tiring and frustrating at times. The discussion was about contentment v. discontentment. I said I work hard to avoid being discontent with my circumstances by keeping my trust and faith and eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. I hope I avoid discontentment, at least.

So this morning I was reading the Bible in my quiet time, and along comes this verse. It was immensely encouraging. I pray it might be to you as well, if you’re living on the thin side.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8).

Hmmm, interesting! What can it mean? Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides a succinct interpretation:

Here, 1. It is supposed that an honest good man may have but a little of the wealth of this world (all the righteous are not rich),—that a man may have but little, and yet may be honest (though poverty is a temptation to dishonesty, ch. 30:9, yet not an invincible one),—and that a man may grow rich, for a while, by fraud and oppression, may have great revenues, and those got and kept without right, may have no good title to them nor make any good use of them.

2. It is maintained that a small estate, honestly come by, which a man is content with, enjoys comfortably, serves God with cheerfully, and puts to a right use, is much better and more valuable than a great estate ill-got, and then ill-kept or ill-spent. It carries with it more inward satisfaction, a better reputation with all that are wise and good; it will last longer, and will turn to a better account in the great day, when men will be judged, not according to what they had, but what they did

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 990). Peabody: Hendrickson.

My interpretation: Righteousness reaps more contentment than do riches, because riches are from the world and righteousness is from Jesus.

Selah!

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Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Time of refreshing

I’d had a hard week, a long one. It had been a few days since I’d read my Bible. I was 6 days overdue for reading the pages in the book Biblical Doctrine I’m studying with an online group, and the new weekly study was going to come out the next day. If I didn’t do some reading I’d be a week behind in the study, and I was already a few days behind in Bible reading. When I read the ten pages suggested for the Doctrine study, I always also read a chapter in The Hidden Life of Prayer by David MacIntyre. I hadn’t read that either, even though it would only represent a few pages of reading and wasn’t especially hard or time-consuming.

It infuriates me when I do this. I exclaim aloud as Paul did in Romans 7:15-20, 24 why do I do the things I don’t want to do and do the things I don’t want to do? Who will deliver me from this body of death?

I didn’t desire to be behind any more. Nor did I want to neglect my God any further. I buckled down and read all my pages, the Bible, the weekly Bible Study, and my chosen book on Prayer. I took a leisurely two and a half hours to do it, though given the number of pages, the actual reading time could have been shorter. But the amazing thing is, the longer I read the Word, and the deeper I went into the Doctrine study, the more relaxed I became. I wanted to stay with it. I enjoyed it tremendously. I luxuriated in reading a bit, then lifting my eyes and praying in exultation, pondering a while, then reading some more. I was amazed when I finished, it felt like just one minute had passed.

When I finished I felt refreshed and relaxed. I felt good, through and through. Why is that?

I confessed my laziness to several of the men in my Bible Study group the next night. I mentioned the amazing feeling afterward, the energy and freshness I’d felt when I concluded my personal session. Why is that? And why do I put it off when I know that the Lord is worth the discipline, and that I’ll be receiving the gift of His presence through the scriptures, not to mention the bonus of the fresh and energized feeling?

They both said,

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; (Psalm 19:7).

The answer is simple- the scriptures refresh like no other activity, item, discipline, food or drink on earth. They refresh totally because they are not from earth.

His word revives the very soul.

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