John 12:9-11 (Lazarus’s Testimony)

from TwoRivers blog by BJ Richardson

Jerusalem

When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. (John 12:9-11)

Relate: Why Lazarus? Am I the only one who wondered this? There have been others who have risen from the dead. There was the widow’s son and Jairus’ daughter. Why weren’t these two one the Pharisee’s hit list? I think three factors come into play here. First is the who. The other two were both marginal people. Neither of the other two are even mentioned by name. Lazarus, on the other hand, is a well connected and well to do man with many friends. He is a pillar in the community.

Second is the where. We don’t even have a location in the gospels for where Jesus was when he healed Jairus’ daughter. All it says is that it was on the other side of the lake from the Gadarenes. If we are talking a straight east-west across then this would have been somewhere south of Tiberias. If we are talking directly opposite it would have been west of Capernaum. Either way, this was in some town not even worthy of being named. The widow’s son isn’t much better. Nain is a small town on the northern edge of Mount Moreh. It is too far west to be a way station for pilgrims traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem. It is south enough that it almost bumps against Samaria and there is as little commerce as possible between Jews and Samaritans. Nain isn’t on the way to anywhere. Lazarus, however was raised right there in the suburbs of Jerusalem.

The third reason is the when. The Passover is about to start and the entire Jewish world is gathered right there in Jerusalem. Jesus is the talk on everybody’s lips and, if you want to actually visit someone he raised from the dead, Lazarus is holding an open house. These aren’t some credulous backwoods Galileans talking about miracles the rest of us cannot verify, this happened right here right now.

React: Lazarus didn’t have to have any profound speeches in order to glorify God. He didn’t have to be incredibly persuasive or convincing. He took no classes in apologetics or epistemology. He didn’t even go through an evangelism explosion class or memorize the Romans Road. He simply had to be. All he had to do is show people the change. This is where I was and this is where I am now. That’s it.

Sometimes I think we over complicate evangelism. We try to build up this sound, reasoned debate, and then we get frustrated when nobody seems convinced. We argue the validity of scriptures, the existence of God, the details of creation, and points of morality. Scripture is valid for what they say, not what they are. God is. He needs no defense. The rest are peripherals. Your testimony is irrefutable. Just tell people, “This is where I was, this is where I am, and it is all because of Jesus.” The blood of the Lamb and that word of testimony are what will overcome the devil.

Let me bring glory to You, God. Let the difference You have made in my life be evident for all to see. Give me the courage, and the boldness, and the passion to share what You have done in me to all the world. You are my Savior. Let my love for You be highly contagious.

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Experience his presence

experience his presence

Division vs. Diversity in the Church

from Attempts at Honesty Christian Blog

What do you think?

I’ve been thinking about my post of 5 days ago regarding division in the church and feel the need to clarify something. Unity in the church does not equate to uniformity. We should not all look the same inside the church because the people in the culture around us are not all the same. Within the bounds of correct belief and practice is the opportunity for diversity.

I understand that diversity has become almost a technical term for support of LGBT rights, but I will use the word anyway.+

Dictionary.com defines diversity this way:+

  • the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness: diversity of opinion.+
  • variety; multiformity.+
  • a point of difference.+

We do not all like the same kind of music, a particular preaching style will appeal to some and not others. Some enjoy the opportunities that large congregations provide and some like small gatherings. Some like liturgy and others are put off by it. You get the idea, there is room for the exercise of preference within the church. We should embrace diversity.+

Diversity in the church is a good thing, we are to make the gospel understandable to all people. We need to be diverse in our approach to the culture around us.+

So, the traditional church should not be smug about its adherence to tradition. The church that exercises freedom in worship should not feel itself superior to the “stuffy” churches around them.+

The Apostle Paul addressed this in the Corinthian Church. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul takes them to task for allowing the use of the gifts of the spirit to cause division in the church. It was wrong then and it remains so now. Read 1 Corinthians 12-14 to understand Paul’s response to the Corinthian Church.+

I worship at a church that does not place high value on liturgy and tradition. But that should not prevent us from working with churches in the area that are big on tradition. If we are united in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our diversity in expression should not cause animosity between us.+

We should be able to work together to bring the Gospel to our community in its various expressions. We should be able to give opportunity to draw people to Christ in a worship style that is appealing to them. Again I turn to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where Paul states:+

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:20–23, ESV)

The point is that we should allow for diversity of expression so that we can present the message of Jesus Christ to the culture around us. We can be unified in our message of the Gospel while being diverse in our expression.+

Diversity is a good thing.+

Comment at http://www.mhmcintyre.us/division-vs-diversity-church/

Boundaries To Let Go

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As we mature, there comes a time when we need boundaries, to know when, to let go and love from a distance. Adapting and adjusting to trials and tribulation, and things and/or stuff requires being spirit led with fruit of the spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.

Possessing love (giving), joy (gladness), peace (free from worry and fear), long suffering (patience), gentleness (kindness), goodness (generosity), faith (dependability), meekness (gentleness) and temperance (self-control) within us helps with trials and tribulations, and things and/or stuff.
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Trials and tribulations, things and/or stuff happens. The test is how we react to it. There will always be something or someone testing us. It’s all part of life, change and growth. Many times, we forget to breathe and focus to stay spiritually calm.  (wink)   The flesh man rises.

Flesh man rising is where a warning should register but nope, we proceed anyway. Sometimes, we forget that we can choose to let stuff go. Too many distractions, coupled with hunger, tiredness, etc, fuels the challenging moment. We’re human and we all have a breaking point.

Again, thank God for his mercy and grace! None of us are immune from stumbling! (shock face)   It’s all part of growing, maturing and producing more fruit within us.

Learning to let go frees us from thinking we have to do everything.  We don’t!

Learning to let go means putting it at the foot of the cross.  Let God!

Learning to let go keeps us with God’s peace. God is always in charge, regardless of what we see! Again, we must walk by faith trustingRomans 8-28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (smile) 

God bless us, by faith, as we let go of unnecessary stuff blocking our spiritual growth. Let thy will be done.

Battle Stations! (Philippians 1:27–30)

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warfareThe Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. We are children in the family, enjoying the fellowship of the Gospel (Phil. 1:1–11), and we are servants sharing in theadvance of the Gospel (Phil. 1:12–26); but we are also soldiers defending the faith of the Gospel. The believer with the single mind can have the joy of the Holy Spirit even in the midst of battle.

“The faith of the Gospel” is that body of divine truth given to the church. Jude calls it “the faith which was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 3). God committed or entrusted this spiritual treasure to Paul (1 Tim. 1:11) and he in turn committed it to others, like Timothy (1 Tim. 6:20), whose responsibility was to commit this truth to still others (2 Tim. 2:2). This is why the church must engage in a teaching ministry, so that each new generation of believers will know, appreciate, and use the great heritage of the faith.

Paul warns “in the latter times some will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). There is an enemy who is out to steal the treasure from God’s people. Paul had met the enemy in Philippi and he was now facing him in Rome. If Satan can only rob believers of their Christian faith, the doctrines that are distinctively theirs, then he can cripple and defeat the ministry of the Gospel. It is sad to hear people say, “I don’t care what you believe, just so long as you live right.” What we believe determines how we behave, and wrong belief ultimately means a wrong life. Each local church is but one generation short of potential extinction. No wonder Satan attacks our young people in particular, seeking to get them away from “the faith.”

How can a group of Christians fight this enemy? “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” (2 Cor. 10:4). When Peter took up a sword in the Garden, Jesus rebuked him (Jn. 18:10–11). We use spiritual weapons—the Word of God and prayer (Eph. 6:11–18; Heb. 4:12); and we must depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the power we need. But a victorious army must fight together, and this is why Paul sends these admonitions to his friends at Philippi. He is explaining in these verses that there are three essentials for victory in the battle to protect “the faith.”

Continue at: http://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/battle-stations-philippians-127-30/

Be there


be there

 

 

And just who is “Jim Elliot” you ask … Check out http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Jim_Elliot

 

Are There Things God Can’t Do?

from Truthbombapologetics

In our family devotions we are studying God’s omnipotence with the aid of William Lane Craig’s excellent children’s book God is All-Powerful.  “Omnipotence” comes from the Latin words omni(all) and potentia (power).

Since beginning this discussion with my girls (6 and 7 years old) they have learned that although God has all power, there are actually things He can’t do!  As you can imagine, this was news to them!  As we’ve worked through the book they’ve learned that God cannot:

1. sin.

2. make a circle which is in the shape of square.

3. make a stone that is to heavy for Him to lift.  As Dr. Craig explains, that would be like asking if God can make something which can’t be lifted by someone who can lift anything!

4. make someone freely decide to something.  If God makes you do something, then you don’t do it freely.  If you do it freely, then God doesn’t make you do it.

Does this somehow show that God’s power is limited? [1]  Not at all.  Why?  As Dr. Craig explains:

“…these other things aren’t really things at all.  There’s no such thing as a square circle or a stone too heavy for God to lift.  They’re just nonsense.  When we say God is all-powerful, we mean that God can do anything which it makes sense for Him to do.”

It is important that Christians understand what exactly it means when the Bible says, “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” [Jeremiah 32:17].

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Fore more on this, see here.