Saturday, April 29, 2006

Benny Hinn - Understood

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

There was a day when I use to say, "Poor Benny, he's just so misunderstood." But not anymore. Now, I think he's been understood all too clearly.

Tell me what you think.

Resources addressing Benny's possible heresies, false prophesies, and calls for Biblical discernment:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Perfect, Complete, Sovereign Providence

All my times are in Your hands. Ps. 31:15a

[Man’s] days are determined, and the number of his months is with You, and You have appointed his limits that he cannot pass. Job 14:5

[T]hough they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call. Romans 9:11

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Ephesians 1:11

The decrees of God are his eternal plan, based on the purpose of His will, by which, for His own glory, He has foreordained everything that happens. The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English, Q. 7

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in thy hand,
All of events at thy command.

His decree who formed the earth
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time
All appointed were by him.

He that formed in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by his wise decree.

Times of sickness, times of health,
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Times of triumph and relief;

Times the tempter’s power to prove,
Times to test the Savior’s love;
All must come, and last, and end
As shall please my heavenly friend.

Plagues and death around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die.
Nor a single shaft can hit,
Till the love of God sees fit.
John Ryland (1753-1825), Baptist minister, cited by J.I. Packer, God’s Plans for You, pg. 9.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Converting a Bear: The Rabbi, Priest, Preacher

Here's a little something funny for the weekend. Hope you enjoy it.

A priest, a Pentecostal preacher and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop. One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear.

One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the experience. Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.

"Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation."

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, "WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the week in Fellowship, feasting on God's Holy Word, and Praising Jesus."

They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape. The rabbi looks up and says, "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start things out with my bear."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Proverbs: Growth in Godly Wisdom

The Book of Proverbs has been called the "book of wisdom" (even a "hymn of wisdom"), and is profitable to anyone seeking greater Godly, Biblical wisdom and understanding of God and self. How well do you know Proverbs? Would you like to know it better; gaining better insight and growth for your daily walk with Him and with man?

One way to better mine the gold nuggets of wisdom found in Proverbs is to get a hold of a copy of Charles Bridges' Commentary on Proverbs (first published in 1846). Charles Bridges was a 19th century Anglican Vicar, best remembered for his classic work The Christian Ministry. C.H. Spurgeon called Bridges' commentary "the best work on the Proverbs," for "while explaining the passage in hand, he sets other portions of the Word of God in new lights."

In addition to the printed version above, you may find Bridges' original, unabridged and unedited version here, courtesy of Dr. Ted Hildebrandt of the Biblical Studies Department at Gordon College in Massachusetts.

In the meantime, take Dr. Hildebrandt's Multiple Choice Proverbs Content Quizzer and see how well you think you might know the Book of Proverbs! (If you don't already have it, you'll need Macromedia FlashPlayer to take this quiz.)

My thanks to Dr. Hildebrandt for these great resources!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter: The True Rolling Stone!

Every Easter my mind goes back through the years and I hear Don Francisco singing He's Alive , recounting what Peter must have felt with the news of Christ's resurrection just bursting from the inside of his very soul, saying, "the stone's been rolled away and now His body isn't there. He's Alive!"

And the 2nd Chapter of Acts and the classic Easter Song, in which they timelessly proclaimed, "Here the bells ringing, They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead. . . The angel up on the tombstone, said 'He has risen, just as He said!'"

And, of course, Dallas Holm's own classic, Rise Again. I remember the first time I heard it - it gave me chills (still does)! I will never forget the lyrics that spoke of Christ saying, Laugh at me, Mock my name, Bury me, but very soon I will be free, because "Death can't keep me in the ground."

Right in line with Dallas Holm is the POWERFUL oration of the late Dr. S.M. Lockeridge of San Diego, CA, who spoke of His King (watch this video!) during a sermon in 1976, saying of Christ, "Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King." Here's the full text. This is a MUST watch and read!

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

This weekend, may each of us join the universal chorus of His people, past and present, and sing, Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the first, the only, the true roller of the stone! Amen.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chuck Colson: Soothing the Church to Death

Soothing Ourselves to Death; Should we give people what they want or what they need?
Charles Colson, Christianity Today, April 5, 2006
"[O]ne Sunday morning, I cracked. We'd been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called "Draw Me Close to You," which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. "Let's sing that again, shall we?" he asked. "No!" I shouted, loudly enough to send heads all around me spinning while my wife cringed."

Dr. Sam Storms, Enjoying God Ministries, respectfully disagrees.

What about you? Does every song sung in church need to be theologically rich? Is what someone "wants" always mutually exclusive from what they "need?" Isn't it all about the heart of the worshipper, anyway?

What say you?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Amazing Fountain of Grace, Part II

Grace. What is it? How is it applied to me, and how should I apply it toward others? And how does it differ from Mercy?

is what God gives that we do not deserve (salvation, right standing with God). Mercy is what God does not give that we do deserve (judgment, wrath, damnation). We do not deserve God's goodness, but instead He has lavished grace upon us. By God's mercy, we escape hell. But by God's grace, we receive everlasting life by the atonement of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10, Titus 2:11) Mercy is what grace offers. Mercy has meaning more synonymous with compassion (Psalm 119:156, Jeremiah 31:20, Romans 9:15, Matthew 18:33).

Resources on Grace:

Pastor John Piper's Study of Grace, in Romans 1:1-5

C.H. Spurgeon's Exposition of Romans 1:1-25

What is Grace?

Boice, James Montgomery. The Glory of God's Grace: The Meaning of God's Grace-And How It Can Change Your Life.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Grace.

David Morsey, Of Grace and Mercy

Pink, A.W. The Attributes of God.
Chapter 13. The Grace of God
Chapter 14. The Mercy of God

Thursday, April 06, 2006

See His Sovereignty; Stand Immovable

Psalm 62:11-12 - Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

"It is essentially necessary, if we would fortify our minds against temptation, to have suitably exalted views of the power and mercy of God, since nothing will more effectually preserve us in a straight and undeviating course, than a firm persuasion that all events are in the hand of God, and that he is as merciful as he is mighty. The man who disciplines himself to the contemplation of these two attributes, which ought never to be dissociated in our minds from the idea of God, is certain to stand erect and immovable under the fiercest assaults of temptation; while, on the other hand, by losing sight of the all-sufficiency of God, (which we are too apt to do,) we lay ourselves open to be overwhelmed in the first encounter."

John Calvin, Commentary on The Book of Psalms

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jesus on Ice

As we all know, there is an all-out attack on the divinity and claims of Christ, from the Da Vinci Code to now scientist saying that rare conditions could have conspired to create hard-to-see ice on the Sea of Galilee that a person (Jesus) could have walked on.

I'm sorry, but this "could have," "might have" stuff just doesn't hold water (or ice)!

Now, more than ever, we must be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, putting on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, let us daily take up the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Eph. 6:10-13)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Amazing Fountain of Sovereign Grace

What is Grace? How would you define it, describe it?

Think about it -

When we deserved His justified wrath, we instead received His favor through salvation. That's grace!

When God could have consigned us to hell, as He did with the angels who sinned, He instead gave us eternal life. That's grace!

When we were by nature in total and complete deprivation, and hostile toward Him (for we were dead in sin [Eph. 2:1] and in no way seeking him [Rom. 3:11]), He chose us, sought us, and now calls us His own. That's grace!

Twila Paris, in her powerful song Fountain of Grace (Perennial: Songs For The Seasons Of Life), says (slightly paraphrased) this about grace:

He is faithfulness; when I have been faithless [1 Cor.1:9, Deut.7:9]
He forever gives; when I have been selfish [Phil.4:19, Heb.13:8]
He is the constant; when I have chosen to wander [Mal.3:6a]
He is forgiveness; when I have cried out for mercy [Ps.107:6-9]
Lord, I owe You my life and my praise, may You pour out the water of life on me, your vessel
I kneel before You and offer myself as a vessel, to You, my unending fountain of grace

What do you say about His grace?

Resources for contemplation:

Bridges, Jerry. The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (and Study Guide)
Bridges, Jerry. Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love (with Study Guide)
Bridges, Jerry. Gospel-Driven Sanctification (Modern Reformation Magazine [May/June Issue, Vol. 12.3])