Archives For religion

Speaking of false religions and their pursuit of deity and more specifically the Ancient Near Eastern version of religion surrounding and excluding the nation of Israel:

“The divine, in its multiple, personalized presentations, was above all considered to be something grandiose, inaccessible, dominating, and to be feared.” He observes that the gods were not the object of enthusiastic pursuit. The people sought the gods for protection and assistance, not for relationship. “One submitted to them, one feared them, one bowed down and trembled before them: one did not ‘love’ or ‘like’ them.”

John H. Walton. Ancient near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible.

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The Fear of God vs the fear of gods

Faith or Works?

jordantmoody —  February 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

J.C.Ryle

Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere teach us that faith sanctifies us in the same sense and in the same manner that faith justifies us! Justifying faith is a grace that “worketh not,” but simply trusts, rests, and leans on Christ (Rom. 4:5). Sanctifying faith is a grace of which the very life is action: it “worketh by love,” and, like a mainspring, moves the whole inward man (Gal. 5:6). (Holiness, xviii).

Here are some of my thoughts as I pondered this quote by J.C. Ryle.

  1. Justification is by faith alone. 
  2. Sanctification is made possible through faith and evidences itself through action. 
  3. One ought to question original justification if  there is no outward workings of your sanctification. Saving faith moves your entire body, livelihood, and lifestyle to worship and adorn the gospel to the betterment of Christ’s name. We do not do these things to be saved but because we are saved. The old man is passed away behold and the new has come. Being new requires a turning from something and changing into something else.(alternative lifestyle) Without any change we are viewed as dead for no outward metamorphosis has evidenced itself and therefore no visible witness can be shared to others. 
  4. Sanctification should not be considered legalistic but rather the natural out working’s of your changed desires over time.  

 

Faith Without Works Is Dead (James 2:14-26)

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

 

 

I have a conviction that no sermon is ready for preaching…until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as a crystal. I find the getting of that sentence is the hardest, the most exacting and the most fruitful labor in my study…I do not think any sermon ought to be preached, or even written, until that sentence has emerged, clear and lucid as a cloudless moon

How to Prepare a Sermon – J.H. Jowett

J.I. Packer – Knowing God – Selective clips from Chapter 20

To many Christians, guidance is a chronic problem. Why? Not because they doubt that divine guidance is a fact, but because they are sure it is. 

They know that God can guide, and has promised to guide, every Christian believer. Books, and friends, and public speakers, tell them how guidance has worked in the lives of others. Their fear, therefore, is not that no guidance should be available for them, but that they may miss the guidance which God provides through some fault of their own. 

This is me. When it comes down to finding God’s will for my life, to often I am looking for a shooting start to point the way. I know God can communicate but I am anxious that it won’t be obvious and I will miss the direction.

Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundational-facts: 

  1. The reality of God’s plan for us
  2. The ability of God to communicate with us.

Has God a plan for individuals? Indeed He has. He has formed an ‘eternal purpose,’ a plan for the fullness of time, in accordance with which he ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 3:11, 1:10, 11). 

Moreover, Scripture contains explicit promises of divine guidance whereby we may know God’s plan for our action.

‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you,’ says God to David (Psalm 32:8)

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. Why is this?

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word. 

This class of problems concerned with what we may call ‘vocational choices’–choices, that is, between competing options, all of which in themselves appear lawful and good. Examples are: should I contemplate marriage, or not? should I marry this person, or not? should we aim at having another child? should I join this church, or that one? should I serve God in the land of my upbringing, or abroad? which of the professions open to me should I follow?

This is me again. I hate having choices. Some people I know love making decisions about everything in order to customize every part of their life. Some want to jailbreak their phone so they can choose so many other options and I personally say I like it the way it is. When it comes to finding God’s will for my life their often seem to many choices and so many turns and in order to avoid having to make a U-Turn I better make the right turn. I like the way J.I. Packer puts this next phrase for life.

The idea of a life in which the inward voice of the Spirit decides and directs everything sounds most attractive, for it seems to exalt the Spirit’s ministry and to promise the closest intimacy with God; but in practice this quest for super-spirituality leads only to frantic bewilderment or lunacy. Hannah Whitall Smith writes of the woman who each morning, having consecrated the day to the Lord as soon as she woke: would then ask Him whether she was to get up or not,’ and would not stir till the voice told her to dress. As she put on each article she asked the Lord whether she was to put it on, and very often the Lord would tell her to put on the right shoes and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on both stockings and no shoes; and sometimes both shoes and no stockings; it was the same with all the articles of dress…

 

The biggest mistake of all is the failure to grasp that the fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides His rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of His written Word. 

The true way to honour the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honour the Holy Scriptures through which he guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives– the instilling, that is, of the basic convictions, attitudes, ideals, and value-judgments, in terms of which we are to live–is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word, which the Spirit enlightens us to understand and apply to ourselves.

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. ‘He guideth me in the paths of righteousness’ — but not anywhere else.

 

 

The Rumours Of His Parties...

The Rumours Of His Parties… (Photo credit: Brainless Angel)

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Didn’t see that coming did you?

Let’s review, Richard Cory had everything a person could want: like-ability,health, attractiveness, attitude(swag), beauty, intelligence, money, fame, and admirers. Richard Cory illustrates how wealth cannot bring contentment. You can’t fill emptiness with more emptiness because in the end all you get is nothing. Are you hungry right now? How about a few hours from now? Hunger is temporarily satisfied and then hungry again. Materialism is the same way it’s like our metaphysical hunger and it’s insatiable.

Apart from God’s living water and bread of life we will always thirst and always hunger. Richard Cory supposedly had the whole world in his hands but instead reached for a pistol and took his own life because he could not see anyone or anything to satisfy his thirst. “The key to life is not money, power, respect or even two private jets (Lecrae) but it is the bread of life and his name is Jesus Christ.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

 

Themes from Psalm 49

jordantmoody —  February 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

(Select verses from Psalm 49)

 

Why should I fear in times of trouble?

For he sees that even the wise die;

the fool and the stupid alike must perish

and leave their wealth to others.

Man in his pomp will not remain;

he is like the beasts that perish.

For when he dies he will carry nothing away;

his glory will not go down after him.

Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

BUT GOD…

But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,

for he will receive me.

 

Week 25 ~ Acts 1-6

jordantmoody —  January 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

Over Christmas vacation we read through the entire book of Luke and combined a few weeks into 2 weeks. It was a bit more work than usual but profitable for all. We are now going to begin our look at the book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles as many explain this book but I like to look at it as the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The controlling force throughout the book is the Holy Spirit and the power He gives to the believers of the early church and to us today.

 

READ ACTS 1-6

This Monday begins a new week in our New Testament Bible Reading Plan.

Due to the Thanksgiving break we will actually be required to read MORE our Bible program since we don’t have school! Whoo! Hoo!

We will be reading Week 11, 12, 13 together this week. Matthew 13-28.

Here is the suggested plan to make this larger portion of reading more sizable.

Your mission should you choose to accept it is to finish Matthew over Thanksgiving break.

7 days 

Monday – chapter 13

Tuesday – Chapter 14

Wednesday- 15, 16, 17

Thursday- 18,19,20

Friday- 21,22,23

Saturday- 24,25,26

Sunday-27, 28

At the end of your reading. Write a few sentences on why you are thankful for this portion of Matthew and Jesus himself. What did he do for you, how did he do it for you, and why did he do it for you? Those are 3 reasons why you should be thankful this season.

Philemon

Author: Paul

Provenance: Roman imprisonment

Destination: Philemon

Occasion: Philemon’s slave escapes, meets Paul, becomes a believer, and is sent back to his owner

Purpose: To encourage Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother and to send him aback to Paul and possibly grant his freedom

Theme: Love and reconciliation in the body of Christ

Ephesians

Author: Paul

Date: AD 60

Provenance: Roman imprisonment

Destination: Circular letter or Ephesus

Purpose: To declare and promote cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ

Theme: The summing up of all things in Christ

Assignment: WEEK 8 OCT. 30- NOV.5   READ PHILEMON AND EPHESIANS