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My most recent post at http://godstalkingtoday.blogspot.com

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One of my posts at http://godstalkingtoday.blogspot.com

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Yesterday our pastor was going through Hebrews 12:25-29.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

And it really got me thinking about God’s Wrath in the coming judgement upon the earth. If you were in a room and someone ran into the room screaming that there was a fire, and they knew the only way out of the building. Wouldn’t we be foolish not to heed this advice? Or would we doubt this and risk perishing in the flames? This is what the first part of this passage is speaking about. Jesus came to warn us of the coming judgement, and to give us the way out at the same time.

Looking back at my life before Christ changed me, I can see that I was already amidst the flames and about to be consumed. The Wrath of God was something to that didn’t pertain to me. If I wasn’t a sinner then I couldn’t be under God’s Judgement. How foolish an idea this really is. Now that I am under Grace, I can understand the implications of God’s wrath. Nothing impure can or will escape God’s wrath. So much so that not even the Heaven’s or the Earth will escape the fire of God.

Revelation 6:12-17

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

I don’t even like to think about what the world will be like when all the world are trying to hide in caves and praying for death to save them from looking upon God’s face.

God has provided an escape for us from His own wrath and judgement in Jesus Christ. One cannot think about God’s Grace of salvation through Jesus Christ and not be grateful to the point of tears. Our response to this gift of salvation must be worship. If we are saved we must worship God with gratitude and fear. We must fear God in the sense that we know what our penalty should be, had we not been graced with salvation. The more I learn about God and His grace, the more I fear Him; for I know what I have been saved from. I know what my God is capable of.

Our “God is a consuming fire” and all of creation will pass through it. Either we will be consumed by the fire of His wrath or we will be refined and purified by it through His grace and sanctification.

Zechariah 13:9

This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ “

As I think about this passage I have to be gratful for God’s mercy and grace that he has given me. I also am saddened for those who are left out, who will be cut off, and endure the fires of hell for eternity. I think about how I can testify to God’s grace to those I know and care about. How can I explain to them the importance of this truth. And if I could, would they believe it and repent? Or, will they continue on in sin?

Only God knows how His holy plan will unveil. We are at His mercy. I pray that we will have the courage to walk through the doors that He opens and humility to walk away from the doors that He closes.

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Over the last few years, i.e. since I have been married, and especially over the last year; I have started to see a major emotional problem that I have developed growing up. My emotional problem has been Suppressed Emotional Expression. I grew up in a drug abusive, and alcoholic family, which was not good for the emotional well being of any child. The two main emotions expressed in my house were extreme anger or sadness or despair. I was very emotional as a child, I think part of this was in response to my family life and circumstances. This was clearly unacceptable to my father, who made it clear that men do not cry and if I wanted to be a man I wouldn’t cry about every little thing. At some point in my teen years I began suppressing almost all of my emotions. I’m not exactly sure at what point this started however, I believe it began around the time of my severe depression and drug use in my late teens. As a result of this emotional suppression for the last 12 years I have struggled with properly expressing most of my emotions.

My biggest problem has been my short fuse. It seems that it doesn’t really take that much to blow my top, and naturally my anger is usually disproportionate to the situation. My anger is the only real emotion that I don’t have a problem expressing. What initially caused me to start looking into my emotional problems was the problems that quickly began to arise in my marriage. These problems ultimately culminated in an affair and pretty much forced us to face our problems as a couple and to address our own personal issues as well. We sought treatment from a counselor to assist us in dealing with our issues personally as well as maritally. This caused me to really investigate where my problem stemmed from and then how to address it.

Part of the solution has been an acknowledgment of the problem itself. This in itself didn’t fix the problem, but it has helped me to consciously attempt to remedy it. The other more amazing solution has been my acceptance of Christ a little over a year ago. Since then I have noticed an amazing improvement in my ability to express my emotions in a more sensible manner. I still struggle everyday with my anger issue and will probably continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life.

There is a common saying that, “Time heals all wounds.” However I don’t believe that is true. Here is a more true saying “Christ heals all wounds.” This is a realization that I have come to over the last year or so; that Christ wants my heart to be healed, and He will heal it if I entrust Him with it. I’ve also realized that God brought me through all the troubles of my life and childhood so that I would place my trust and faith in Him. I have endured hardship and struggle so that I would trust in His wisdom rather than that of men, so that I would glorify Him over everything.

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Will you stand for Jesus at all costs? Will you die for Him if He so wills it? He stood for us and paid the ultimate price. Who do you stand for?

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So far all of my posts have been pretty positive, or about what we should be as Christians. However I think it’s time for a reality check. Every Christian, now matter how long they have been walking with Christ, struggles with something on a daily basis. This is just the nature of being human in a fallen state. Now granted we do have the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we don’t always listen to what the Holy Spirit tells us.

Proverbs 20:9 – Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?

Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

I know that I have trouble with my heart everyday. We have to try to be like David, who was a man after God’s own heart. Even David sinned. I think that’s why he wrote this prayer in the Psalms:

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Another thing I struggle with on a daily basis is my anger. I have always had a short temper, for as long as I can remember. Maybe this is because I grew up with so much anger and violence in my family. Maybe it’s just my heart. I don’t know exactly what causes me to anger so easily. It has been easier since I came to Christ, but I still find myself getting angry for little cause at times. This is especially hard and dangerous when you have kids. Children have a tendency to bring out the worst and the best in us. A child can provoke even the most patient man to anger. So much more for us who are easily angered. I have to be extremely careful not to lose my temper around my children, which at times can be extremely difficult. I have to be extremely careful not to end up like my father, who throughout my childhood always seemed angry, and lost his temper at the drop of a hat. I don’t want my children to grow up feeling the way that I felt.

I struggle everyday with reading my bible. Sometimes I let the things of the world distract me from what is really important, God’s Word. This is part of the reason I started this blog. To help keep me focused on what is important. To help me store up treasures in heaven and not on earth.

I struggle with intercessory prayer sometimes. It’s easy to pray for myself. We are all selfish in nature, and it’s easy to pray for ourselves. To pray for others can be difficult unless we are consciously aware of it. One thing I try to do when I pray is to make my prayers for myself the last thing I pray for if at all.

Spending quiet time with God is another thing I have trouble with. We live in such a fast paced world with so much stimulation. It can be hard to just stop everything, all the distractions and to listen for His Word in my heart, to rest in Him.

I struggle with helping my wife around the house sometimes. I have to consciously make myself help her with the housework sometimes. I know my wife appreciates it when I do help her out, especially here lately with her being pregnant and her chronic pain flaring up worse than it has before. This has kind of forced me to help with our son more on my days off as well. This can be hard to do especially after a long night at work.

These are some of the things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I can come up with more, however these are the most common, and hardest things to deal with for me. What do you struggle with in your walk with Christ?

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Recently I found a great article that is an appeal to Christians to believe what Jesus believed. A call to Christians who believe in the “Gap Theory” or those who do not believe certain pieces of scripture as being historical fact. I strongly recommend that any Christian who has any doubt about some of the miraculous events in the bible or the account of the biblical creation, read this article and succeeding links.


Believing What Jesus Believed

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

It has become increasingly popular to accept certain parts of the Bible and to reject other parts. Such amazing events as the miracle of Creation, Jonah’s being swallowed by a sea creature, and the Flood of Noah often are brushed aside as mere myth, while more “credible” things such as the teachings of Jesus are accepted as fact. Although this line of reasoning might have some initial appeal to our “enlightened” society that rejects biblical miracles off hand, it contains a major flaw. When the teachings of Jesus are analyzed, it can be shown that Jesus Himself believed and taught the Old Testament stories that some label as myth.

For instance, the story of Jonah has come under attack due to its extraordinary details. According to the Old Testament Scriptures, God’s prophet Jonah disobeyed the Lord and was swallowed by a great sea creature. For three days, he dwelt as a damp denizen of that creature’s belly, until finally he was vomited onto the land and given another chance to obey God. To certain scholars, the story of Jonah finds a place in the Scriptures, not as a factual narrative of a specific historical account, but as a myth or allegory. What did Jesus believe about the story of Jonah? His sentiments in this regard were emphatically stated.

Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here (Matthew 12:38-41).

Quite clearly, Jesus accepted the story of Jonah as an accurate description of a real, historical event. He included not only the fact that Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish, but also affirmed that the city of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah. If the story of Jonah were simply an allegory or myth, Jesus’ entire point about being in the belly of the Earth for as long as Jonah was in the belly of the fish would be weakened to the point of ridiculousness. For, if Jonah wasn’t ever really in the belly of the fish, then what would that say about the Son of Man actually being in the belly of the Earth?

Another story endorsed by Christ is the formation of man and woman at the beginning of Creation. Some scholars, in an attempt to find a compromise between the Bible and organic evolution, have postulated that the Creation account of Genesis need not be taken literally, and that room can be found in Genesis to accommodate the idea that humans evolved gradually in Earth’s recent past. What did Jesus say about this idea?

During His earthly sojourn, Christ spoke explicitly regarding Creation. In Mark 10:6, for example, He declared: “But from the beginning of the creation, male and female made he them.” Note these three paramount truths: (1) The first couple was “made”; they were not biological accidents. Interestingly, the verb “made” in the Greek is in the aorist tense, implying point action, rather than progressive development (which would be characteristic of evolutionary activity). W.E. Vine made this very observation with reference to the composition of the human body in his comments on 1 Corinthians 12:18 (1951, p. 173). (2) The original pair was fashioned “male and female”; they were not initially an asexual “blob” that eventually experienced sexual diversion. (3) Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning of the creation.” The Greek word for “beginning” is arché, and is used of “absolute, denoting the beginning of the world and of its history, the beginning of creation.” The Greek word for “creation” is ktiseos, and denotes the “sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, 1962, pp. 113,114,381, emp. in orig.). Christ certainly did not subscribe to the notion that the Earth is millions or billions of years older than humanity.

Accepting the testimony of Jesus Christ further demands that the global Flood of Noah be taken as a literal, historic event. The Lord Himself addressed the topic of the great Flood in Luke 17:26-30 (cf. Matthew 24:39) when He drew the following parallel:

And as it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed (emp. added).

The Lord depicted an impending doom that was to befall the Jews of His day who would not heed the Word of God. For the purpose of this article, however, note the context in which Jesus discussed the Flood destruction of Genesis 6-8. He placed the Flood alongside the destruction of Sodom, and He also placed it alongside the destruction of the ungodly at His Second Coming. John Whitcomb correctly noted that the word “all” must refer to the totality of people on the entire Earth in Noah’s day, and in Sodom during Lot’s time. Jesus’ argument would be weakened considerably if some of the people on the Earth, besides Noah’s family, escaped the Flood, or if certain Sodomites survived the fiery destruction sent from Heaven (1973, pp. 21-22). It is evident from the text that Jesus affirmed that the same number of ungodly sinners who escaped the Flood will be the same number of disobedient people who escape destruction at His Second Coming—none. From His remarks, one can clearly see that Jesus accepted the Genesis account of a global flood as a historical fact.

The sayings of Jesus contain numerous references to some of the Old Testament’s most extraordinary events. A person cannot consistently maintain a belief in Jesus and His teachings, while denying the details of the accounts that He endorsed as factual. The testimony of Jesus and the factual accuracy of the stories He commended stand together.

REFERENCES

Cremer, H. (1962), Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek (London: T & T Clark).Vine, W.E. (1951), First Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).Whitcomb, John C. (1973), The World That Perished (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).


Original Article @ ApologeticsPress.org

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