Letting Go of the Past

from Daily Encounter

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully.” Ephesians 4:25

Janet had been married eleven years when her husband, Ron, told her that he didn’t want to be married to her any more. Understandably, Janet took it extremely hard and refused to believe that Ron meant what he said.

But he did. So much so that he divorced Janet.

Two years later Janet was still in denial about her situation even though Ron was married to another woman. Furthermore, while Janet was fully supporting herself and taking care of her and Ron’s children, Janet was still supporting Ron financially—all of which was a vain attempt to get him back.

She had blinded herself totally to the reality of her situation and was living in a fantasy world. As long as she was in such deep denial, she was bound by her past, going nowhere with her life.

When Janet joined a support/growth group and began to see how much she was in denial about her situation, as painful as it was she was able to begin a process of healing that, in time, set her free to move ahead with her life.

Any wonder the Bible teaches: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood.”Ephesians 4:25 And as Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of denial so that I will always face reality and be totally honest with myself, God, and others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

5 Questions to ask KJV Only advocates

from Covenant of Love site

The Book

Over the years I’ve had my fair share of run-in’s with KJV Only advocates. And not once has it been a pleasurable experience. They are often aggressive, forceful and argumentative. Through my experience I’ve discovered that the best defence in this case is a good offence. Don’t argue back, but you can turn the tables by asking a few questions and then walking away. Just get them thinking. Put the ball in their court and then leave it alone.

HERE ARE 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK A KJV ONLY ADVOCATE:

1. Did you know that the KJV in print today is a 1769 edition?

This will come as a shock to most KJV Only advocates you meet on the street. They are convinced that they are using the original 1611 edition. You can easily show them simply by directing them to the copyright page of their own Bible. This matters because if the KJV is the only Bible we should use a fair question is, which KJV Bible? The KJV went through literally dozens of editions between 1611 and 1769, the first being as early as 1612!

2. Did you know that the KJV has the record for the longest copyright in history?

An argument that is sometimes employed is that God’s word should be freely made available to every person. But modern translations are copyrighted while the KJV is not. But, in fact, the KJV was copyrighted from when it was first published in 1611 all the way until the late twentieth century. In other words, the KJV was copyrighted for almost three hundred and fifty years!

3. Did you know that the TR is based on seven incomplete and fairly recent manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate?

As the argument goes, the KJV is based on the Greek Text known as the Textus Receptus (because it was considered the “received text”). Since the TR is “received” it must be authorized (by God). At that time in the Western Church (Rome/Protestants), there were almost no Greek Texts in extent. This goes back to when the Western and Eastern Churches split. The West wanted nothing to do with the East or with its Greek New Testament. The East wanted nothing to do with the West or its Latin Bible. So when the Humanist named Erasmus went about to make a fresh Greek text he could only get his hands on seven pieces of Greek manuscripts, all fairly recent. None was complete. To fill in the blank he used the Latin Vulgate. By contrast, modern translations rely on well over 5000 Greek manuscripts dating back almost 1000 further than the manuscripts which the TR used.

4. Did you know that the KJV Bible itself was not and is not Authorized?

This is a huge point. KJV Only advocates often claim that the KJV was authorized by the crown of England and that, they say, proves that God approved of it above all other translations. In point of fact, it is the printers that were authorized, not the text. Because the KJV was copyrighted, only specific publishers were “authorized” to print it. The text was dedicated to King James, but it was never formally endorsed by the crown.

5. When comparing the KJV to other translations, why do you assume that the KJV is the standard when today’s translations rely on Greek texts that are much order and much loser to the originals than the KJV’s TR?

This is a fair question. The assumption is this: if there’s a difference between the NIV and KJV the NIV “must have deleted” a word or a verse. But why? If it relies on Greek manuscripts that go back almost 1000 years further than the one the KJV uses, can’t we equally charge the KJV with having “added” to God’s word? Furthermore, if we say that because the KJV is older than modern translations it should be the standard, a fair question is still to ask why stop at the KJV? Why not the Geneva Bible, the Bishops Bible or the Great Bible? All English translations what preceded the KJV.

It’s a well established fact that sacred texts expand over time. “Any sacred text is more likely to accumulate additions than to lose parts which might be authentic” (pg. 21). And yet that fact along should challenge us to take the risk if we want what was actually recorded and not what was added in later by scribal error or some other addition. Being accused of having deleted something of the text is a necessary risk we have to be willing to take if we want to get back to the originals as the Reformers and the KJV translators themselves wanted.

[By the way, the best book you’ll ever buy on the history of the Bible is The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher De Hamel. I highly recommend it!]

2 Timothy 2:13

by zecq on Re-Versing Versesi

2 Timothy 2:13 - if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2:13 | NIV | Other Versions | Context

Brief

In 2 Timothy 2, Paul, knowing that his time of martyrdom is near, writes at length to his beloved son Timothy, in order to encourage the younger man to walk in the correct path as a leader and as a preacher. He especially quotes a ‘trustworthy saying’, out of which we are looking at the last of the 3 verses today. This verse speaks equally about the weakness of mankind and the greatness of the Lord – but we shall afford as little time as possible to discuss mankind, and instead focus our efforts on extolling the greatness of the Lord, which in this verse is manifested in one of his qualities – his faithfulness and his inability to disown himself.

Analysis

Let me begin with a reference verse:

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? [Numbers 23:19]

for he cannot disown himself – What does it mean to disown yourself? Can you disown yourself? Have you ever disowned yourself? In most translations the term is rendered, ‘deny’. God cannot deny himself. We get what it means, certainly – that God cannot deny his own qualities, his own personality, his own identity which makes him faithful even if we are faithless. He will not lie, because it is not his personality; he will not break a promise, because it is his quality to honor his words. But I prefer the word ‘disown’. It sounds more absolute to my inexperienced ears. “I cannot deny myself” sounds a tad arrogant and obnoxious, no? Like some little spoilt prince from a faraway country who always gets what he wants.

God cannot disown himself – but we can. Have you ever betrayed your own principles? Have you ever gone against the morals which you believed in? Have you ever felt the pangs of your own guilty conscience? Have you ever done anything that would displease God? I have – surely you have too? We are faithless at times, we are capable of being faithless, because we are able to disown ourselves. And whether we are faithful or faithless, we do not change the fact that God remains faithful. What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar [Rom 3:3-4].

What exactly does this faithlessness of ours – or this faithfulness of God refer to? It is important to note that the preceding verse had just said that if we disown him, he will also disown us [2 Tim 2:12] – Is that a contradiction? If we disown him, he will disown us, but if we are faithless, he will remain faithful? It is important here to note that while to disown God is a sign of our faithlessness, God disowning us who are unfaithful is not a sign of his faithlessness, but instead a sign of his faithfulness to his words.

There is often a lot of confusion on this as there is so much evidence of God’s mercy and compassion for us in the Bible. If we find ourselves turning against God, or if we have trekked a path away from God, we are assured by the Bible that if we would only return to him, he too will return to us [Zech 1:3|Article]. Even as the prophets spoke at length about judgement and destruction, they also reminded us that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning [Lam 3:22-23].But as we continue to extol the Lord for his mercies, we often forget that the result of continued disobedience and persistent rejection of the Lord is destruction – The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest [Psalm 5:5-6]. We are all sinners, we all do wrong at some point or another – it is not wrong to assume that God will forgive us if we repent of our sins – but it is terribly wrong to assume that God’s forgiveness is reserved as well for us if we repent not and continue to dwell in sin, which he abhors. If we reject him, if we refuse to repent, if we deny him, if we disown him and continue to sin, God will keep to his word, he will still be faithful to his word, and he will, in accordance to his justice, disown us.

If we are faithless, and if we disown God – i.e. we do not repent – there is only one way we can expect God to act, and that is to disown us. Do not expect any remaining mercy if you do not repent, for God is faithful to himself, to his own word, and the wrath that he has promised, he will exact.

Conclusion

God’s faithfulness is absolute. His words are absolute. As mortals our faithfulness to our vows our promises and our own words are often dependent on the faithfulness of others. For example, in marriage. I’m neither married nor about to marry, and I do not even attempt to pretend I understand the complications and the pains involved in any marriage, just as I do not pretend to understand the joys and the satisfaction that many profess to possess in marriage. But often, all it takes to break one’s resolve to stand by his or her marriage vows, is the unfaithfulness of his or her spouse. All that it takes to break a ceasefire treaty, is to have a reckless soldier kill another in a drunken fit by the border. All that it takes to break a business partnership, is the signing of a second partnership of one party.

It’s is absolutely practical. It was harsh of me to use these as analogies. It is certainly, by all standards of ours, absolutely insane if you still keep holding on the promise in these cases. Such is this sinful world. But our God is above and beyond all these. Above and beyond faithlessness.

Want to grow in your faith? Share it!

by Aaron Armstrong on Blogging Theologically

word-balloons

Sharing your faith with loved ones isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do sometimes, but it’s something we all are called to do. Recently, I mentioned that the small groups in our church have been going through a witnessing workshop intended to give us practical guidance and a biblical foundation for personal evangelism.

While I know there’s some folks reading this who might find the idea of a “witnessing workshop” silly, we should recognize that we need the help. According to LIfeWay Research, while the majority of us agree that sharing our faith is important, few of us do so on a regular basis (if at all).

This despite the majority of people surveyed saying they felt comfortable sharing their faith effectively. 

So what’s the deal? What’s with the disconnect here?

I think it’s because we’ve forgotten something really important:

If you want to grow in your faith, you’ve got to share it.

That’s something we’ve been reminded of as we continue down the road to completing our witnessing workshop and encouraging our small group members to engage with the course’s assignments. And I’ll be honest, we were kind of terrified of doing a lot of it.

But doing it has been a real opportunity to see how God’s been at work through the program so far, both in our role as facilitators and as participants. Here are a couple of quick examples:

One of our first assignments was to ask three people we know what they believe about the afterlife.

Not counter it, not correct it—just ask and listen.

We received some impressive feedback from almost everyone we asked (only one had an answer that amounted to “I dunno”). One of our family members actually provided a two page email in response to the question—giving not only his opinion of the afterlife, but outlining his entire worldview!

And although there was so much that he said that would make you want to cry if I shared it, there was much that we could affirm as true—truths that we would be able to redirect to Jesus.

Another way we’ve seen God at work through it is in our small group members, who, after an initial rough patch with getting started, have started to realize that engaging people in spiritual conversations isn’t terribly difficult. Most people are quite happy to tell you what they believe about practically anything—and by listening, we gain an opportunity to be heard as well.

But none of this would happen if we weren’t all striving to be intentional about sharing our faith.

Our church leaders want to see relational evangelism normalized in the lifestyle of the congregation. All of us still have a long way to go, but those who are embracing the opportunities God provides are seeing their own faith grow.


What are some of the obstacles preventing you from sharing your faith?

Share The Gospel. Even If You Do It Poorly

by MARK ALTROGGE on The Blazing Center

The gospel involves words.

It is the glorious message of the redemption God has provided for us through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  We should try to  share this message whenever we can.

But the gospel is more than words – it is the power of God.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  1 Corinthians 1:17-18

The power of the gospel isn’t in the speaker. The good news of Jesus is powerful because it is the very word of God and the Holy Spirit infuses God’s word with power.

It is the Holy Spirit who causes someone to be born again, not our persuasiveness.

God saved Charles Spurgeon through a simple gospel message given by a humble speaker:

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. I turned a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Church. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved….

The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now it is well that preachers be instructed, but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was—“LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH” (Isa. 45:22)

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimmer of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus: “This is a very simple text indeed. It says ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It aint liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.

“But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Ay!” he said in broad Essex, “many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some say look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ “

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me, I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!”

When he had . . . . managed to spin out about ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.

Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “And you will always be miserable—miserable in life and miserable in death—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Then lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.”

I love this.  The poor shoe maker or tailor wasn’t eloquent.  He probably had never heard the word “eschatology.”  To Charles Spurgeon he seemed “stupid”.  He didn’t pronounce all his words correctly.  But he shared the good news. He shared the simple core of the gospel – Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead.  And God attended his simple message with life-transforming power and raised Charles Spurgeon from death to life.

This is liberating when we share the gospel with our children, friends and relatives. It’s not our brilliant articulation that saves anyone – it’s the power of the word of God and the Holy Spirit. Of course we want to express God’s truth as clearly as we can, but even if we stumble and share the gospel imperfectly, it is the power of God that saves.

We must do all we can to teach our children about Jesus and bring them up in the fear and instruction of the Lord. We should read the Word to them and teach them. We should encourage them to turn to Jesus. But we can’t cause them to be born again. We must diligently share God’s word then pray and trust that the Holy Spirit to give them life.

Let this encourage us to share the gospel, even if we do it poorly. I don’t encourage you to be stupid. But our feeble words plus God’s mighty power is all God needs.

36 Purposes of God in Our Suffering

by Chad  at Truthbomb Apologetics

This post was originally featured on Apologetics315 here.  Thanks to Brian Auten for permission to feature it on Truthbomb.

When difficulties, trials, and suffering come in our lives, often the first question we ask is, “why?” How could God allow this? Why does God allow suffering at all? Could there be any purpose in suffering?

Joni Eareckson Tada knows hardship firsthand and shares her experiences and reflections on suffering in many of her books. The following is an appendix from her book When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.

1. Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).

2. God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).

3. Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).

4. Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).

5. Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).

6. Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).

7. Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).

8. Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10; Rom 8:28-29).

9. Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).

10. Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8; Ps 119:67; Rom 5:1-5;James 1:2-8; Phil 3:10).

11. Voluntary suffering is one way to demonstrate the love of God (2 Cor 8:1-2, 9).

12. Suffering is part of the struggle against sin (Heb 12:4-13).

13. Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men (Ps 27:12; 37:14-15).

14. Suffering is part of the struggle for the kingdom of God (2 Thess 1:5).

15. Suffering is part of the struggle for the gospel (2 Tim 2:8-9).

16. Suffering is part of the struggle against injustice (1 Pet 2:19).

17. Suffering is part of the struggle for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41; 1 Pet 4:14).

18. Suffering indicates how the righteous become sharers in Christ’s suffering (2 Cor 1:5; 1 Pet 4:12-13).

19. Endurance of suffering is given as a cause for reward (2 Cor 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12).

20. Suffering forces community and the administration of the gifts for the common good (Phil 4:12-15).

21. Suffering binds Christians together into a common or joint purpose (Rev 1:9).

22. Suffering produces discernment, knowledge, and teaches us God’s statutes (Ps 119:66-67, 71).

23. Through suffering God is able to obtain our broken and contrite spirit which He desires (Ps 51:16-17).

24. Suffering causes us to discipline our minds by making us focus our hope on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6, 13).

25. God uses suffering to humble us so He can exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6-7).

26. Suffering teaches us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:7-12).

27. Suffering is sometimes necessary to win the lost (2 Tim 2:8-10; 4:5-6).

28. Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak (2 Cor 1:3-11).

29. Suffering is small compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).

30. God desires truth in our innermost being and one way He does it is through suffering (Ps 51:6; 119:17).

31. The equity for suffering will be found in the next life (Ps 58:10-11).

32. Suffering is always coupled with a greater source of grace (2 Tim 1:7-8; 4:16-18).

33. Suffering teaches us to give thanks in times of sorrow (1 Thess 5:17; 2 Cor 1:11).

34. Suffering increases faith (Jer 29:11).

35. Suffering allows God to manifest His care (Ps 56:8).

36. Suffering stretches our hope (Job 13:14-15).

Out of His deep love for us God is more interested in making His children like Christ than He is in making us comfortable. The glory He receives from redeeming depraved sinners like us and remaking us into His image will be the song that fills the halls of heaven for all eternity (Rev 5:9-10). Since that will be the case in the future, let us pursue joy in the Lord here in the present.

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Book Review – The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness

by Joe Quatrone, Jr.
When it comes to the process of sanctification, who is responsible for what? Teachings on personal holiness range from a “God is in control so don’t worry about your own conduct” approach to a legalistic rules and regulations approach that on a practical level leaves holiness entirely up to the individual. Which is it? On the surface it may seem that grace and the personal discipline to pursue holiness are opposed to one another, but Jerry Bridges argues that they are not. In fact, they go hand in hand. Bridges provides a balanced approach to sanctification that emphasizes both God’s grace and human responsibility. Indeed, God is in control and His grace is the ingredient that empowers our efforts to become more holy. This book provides a balanced understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together for a life-long pursuit of holiness.

A foundational point that Bridges makes is that Christians must constantly preach the gospel to themselves. The conventional paradigm is that the gospel is relevant to unbelievers, and that after they come to the Lord, the essential focus becomes one of discipleship. However, Bridges reminds us that daily recognition of the saving grace of the gospel message is necessary if discipleship is not to become a matter of performance and of empty striving.

Those who read the first part of the book and begin to think (as I admittedly did) that Bridges is soft-peddling sin by exalting grace need to read through the entire book. The last six chapters really bring a solid balance to the presentation of pursuing holiness. Bridges puts practical application on God’s grace and develops several biblical disciplines that all Christians should heed in their lives. Particularly insightful was his comment that many folks who practice certain disciplines can get into a legalistic mindset because they do not practice the disciplines out of a love for God, but out of a fear of guilt or out of loving the disciplines themselves but not loving God.

I would strongly recommend this book to all Christians at any stage of their Christian walk. There is some very good meat in here that personally convicted me, and I think many Christians who are trapped either in a legalistic or antinomian mindset will find the biblical balance set forth by Bridges to be very refreshing. Those who struggle with understanding their role versus God’s role in sanctification will find in this book a God focused perspective that affirms human responsibility in the context of God’s sovereignty, and that these truths are complementary in the area of Christian living and pursuing holiness. I believe this book, which grapples with many of the central issues of the Christian walk, should be required reading for all believers. When it comes to the area of Christian living, this book is a must read.