Proverbs
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 3:5

The Word
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Sola scriptura
"by Scripture alone"

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Cambridge Delcaration

Christian Institute

Creation

Meta

Our Hope Is Not Blind

hopeinfield3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NKJV)

Many times a Christian is ridiculed for using their faith as a crutch, or putting our hope blindly in a two thousand year old myth. Well to those who accuse us of using faith as a crutch, I would respond with a resounding “NO!”. Faith in Christ is no crutch to support the weakest in society, it is far more akin to a life support machine, without which we believers would be destined to an eternity in hell as a result of our sins, with the righteous wrath of our Creator heaped upon us. To the second accusation however, I would point out that by the grace of God, a Christian has all the evidence they need to find assurance that what they believe is the truth.

The opening text is written by the apostle Peter to the early church that was in a time of great persecution where the church was scattered throughout Asia Minor, and multitudes of Christian believers lost their lives in horrific circumstances. An accurate account of Christian suffering can be found in “Foxes Book of Martyrs”, but read through the following quote from the book which highlights the reality of Christian hope even when facing death, compared to the Pagan despair when faced with the same.

It has been said that the lives of the early Christians consisted of “persecution above ground and prayer below ground.” Their lives are expressed by the Coliseum and the catacombs. Beneath Rome are the excavations which we call the catacombs, which were at once temples and tombs. The early Church of Rome might well be called the Church of the Catacombs. There are some sixty catacombs near Rome, in which some six hundred miles of galleries have been traced, and these are not all. These galleries are about eight feet high and from three to five feet wide, containing on either side several rows of long, low, horizontal recesses, one above another like berths in a ship. In these the dead bodies were placed and the front closed, either by a single marble slab or several great tiles laid in mortar. On these slabs or tiles, epitaphs or symbols are graved or painted.

Both pagans and Christians buried their dead in these catacombs. When the Christian graves have been opened, the skeletons tell their own terrible tale. Heads are found severed from the body, ribs and shoulder blades are broken, bones are often calcined from fire. But despite the awful story of persecution that we may read here, the inscriptions breathe forth peace and joy and triumph.

Here are a few:

“Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace.”

“Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels.”

“Victorious in peace and in Christ.”

“Being called away, he went in peace.”

Remember when reading these inscriptions the story the skeletons tell of persecution, of torture, and of fire. But the full force of these epitaphs is seen when we contrast them with the pagan epitaphs, such as:

“Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing else.”

“I lift my hands against the gods who took me away at the age of twenty though I had done no harm.”

“Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing about it, and it is no concern of mine.”

“Traveler, curse me not as you pass, for I am in darkness and cannot answer.”

The most frequent Christian symbols on the walls of the catacombs, are, the good shepherd with the lamb on his shoulder, a ship under full sail, harps, anchors, crowns, vines, and above all the fish. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

The untold thousands upon thousands of believers who have died in the past two thousand years have not revealed themselves to have nothing more than blind hope, but have believed the only true message of hope for all sinners; namely the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ONLY true God made flesh, giving Himself freely for those who will believe and trust in Him alone for their salvation. It is a message once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3), that does not change, and is based upon the eye witness evidence of those who witnessed the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Speaking of the Gospel message, the apostle Paul writes:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (NKJV)

The message we Christians believe is historical fact, passed from person to person faithfully and unchanging throughout the the last two millennia. This message, throughout history even to the present day, has led to men, women and children refusing to reject its truth, even when facing certain death or horrendous suffering at the hands of those who seek to destroy their faith. Are we really so foolish to believe every such person is either brave beyond imagination, or a stark raving lunatic? Is it not more likely that the hope they have is actually real? And the strength they find to hold onto such hope in the face of such unbearable horror, is graciously given them by a loving, unseen God and Father?

Reader be honest with yourself and decide where you stand before God Almighty, who has sworn to pour out His wrath at the promised return of Christ as Judge (1 Thess 1:10). Most will accept that death is a certainty we all have to face, but do you do so plagued by all manner of uncertainty, or do you do so with confidence of faith; knowing that your hope is based upon believing a message that has been faithfully passed on from generation to generation? I leave you with the often “not fully quoted” words from the apostle John showing there are only really two conditions of man, either justified and saved from the wrath of God to come, or already condemned as a prisoner on death row waiting for the dreaded call to come:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18 (NKJV)

Motives in Christian Ministry

This post comes from our brother Mike Ratliff over at Possessing The Treasure. The content is not only relevant to Christian ministry but also to our whole Christian life.


I received the following article today from some dear friends. I knew immediately that I had to use it somehow on Possessing the Treasure. A major part of our ministries must be self-examination. We need to see if we and our ambitions are driving our ministries or if God is. We must examine our motives for everything we commit to. As you read the article below I pray that God will prick your heart as He did mine to look deep into what is driving what we do in His name. – Mike Ratliff

by Mack Tomlinson

I have often been challenged in my own heart before the Lord to check my motives in all things regarding serving Christ. Because it’s not only about what I believe and what I do in kingdom service–of paramount important is the question WHY. Why am I doing what I am doing–what are the hidden motives of my heart? Why do I do what I do and why do I say what I say?

…Continue Reading This Article.

Originally posted 2009-08-26 12:53:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Into” the Mystery

On Musical Mediatrixes

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . . seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus . . .” (Ephesians 2:4-6)

The Matrix: Though defying rational explanation, it is what it is. Foremost, music is spiritual. In whatever venue, whether a rock concert, a national anthem before a sporting event, a funeral, a military parade, or a church worship service, etc.—music delivers powerful experiences to its hearers. Music’s subliminal message can prove mind-altering. One newspaper columnist accounts for its popularity for reason that, “Music is a vehicle that propels [the disc jockey]—and me and so many others—toward the place we might call enlightenment, or God, or the higher consciousness, or Grace.”[1]

But not only is music spiritual, it is also mystical. Like hand in glove, the [Continue reading…]

The Goal Of Instruction

by J.A. Matteson

Nerves in the skin were given by God to alert a person that damage is inflicting the body.  Physical pain is unpleasant and its intended end is the body recoiling from the source of pain/damage.

God supplies the conscience to alert the mind when damage is occurring as a result of breaking or potentially breaking his moral Law. The human soul is hardwired with the imprint of Gods moral law and is intended to prevent damage to the soul.

But, like a man who willfully places his hand on a hot stove and suffers scaring that diminishes sensitivity to physical pain, so too the man who willfully live hypocritically eventually deadens the emotional sensation of guilt, for hypocrisy is to the soul as a hot iron is to the skin.

The result of that wrongdoing becomes increasingly easy, and that is dangerous. “By means ofthe  hypocrisy [Continue reading…]

So pray the Lord to let His Gospel soak into your soul

“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel
which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that
is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed
to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground,
so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.”

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon 1834 – 1892

There is a part of me that embraces these words from Charles Spurgeon. It is called my spirit. There is another part of me that rejects them. It is called my flesh. This is a daily battle. The Gospel is a hard message for us to accept in our flesh. It calls us to die to ourselves, to surrender to the will of our Lord and creator.

…Continue Reading This Article.

Originally posted 2009-02-19 16:48:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Regarding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

02-17-09

J.A. Matteson

At the outset we affirm that Scripture interprets Scripture (God does not contradict Himself) and that to arrive at a proper understanding of an issue the whole council of God’s word must be consulted in context. This is emphasized because we live in an age of “proof-texting” where some who may be sincere tend to isolate a verse or two, attempting to establish a “doctrine” out of them, and this they do to their own peril and also to those who follow their teaching.

With regard to the baptism of the Holy Spirit the phenomenon is tied to the New Covenant promised in the Old Covenant to wayward Israel which failed to obey the Lord from the heart, whereby all those now born again (from above) by the Spirit are baptized (spiritually immersed, changed–2 Cor. 5:17) at regeneration/conversion, and placed into the body of Christ, whereby [Continue reading…]

Depth Of Mercy

Depth of mercy! Can there be Mercy still reserved for me? Can my God His wrath forbear, Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace, Long provoked Him to His face, Would not hearken to His calls, Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I have spilt His precious blood, Trampled on the Son of God, Filled with pangs unspeakable, I, who yet am not in hell!

I my Master have denied, I afresh have crucified, And profaned His hallowed Name, Put Him to an open shame.

Whence to me this waste of love? Ask my Advocate above! See the cause in Jesus’ face, Now before the throne of grace.

Jesus, answer from above, Is not all Thy nature love? Wilt Thou not the wrong forget, Permit me to kiss Thy feet?

If I rightly read Thy heart, If Thou all compassion art, Bow Thine [Continue reading…]

Without Excuse (The Foolishness of Atheism)

18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19  because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22  Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23  and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their [Continue reading…]

Harmonizing Profession With Obedience

HARMONIZING PROFESSION WITH OBEDIENCE

J.A. Matteson

03.17.09

He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8

The work of Providence is to test the Christian’s heart, harmonizing profession with obedience, bringing into alignment the academic with the actual. The academic precedes the actual and the actual validates the academic as wrought in Christ.

Lost in the Garden of Eden was obedience, being replaced by rebellion. The Lord cleanly strips away all pretence by revealing the genuine fruit of the academic, “If you love Me you will keep my commandments”(John 14:15). Love is manifest at divine the intersection of humility and obedience.

The end of Providence is obedience; the means is humility; the pathway is death. By Providence the Christian sojourns to the base of difficult hills at which point the academic and actual are juxtaposed, he will at that place [Continue reading…]

Order of Salvation Part 4: Justification

Sometimes as Christians, we can have a very lop-sided view of God, for we equate His mercy and compassion with His love, and pretty much cast out His holiness and wrath as something that no longer applies. This is completely in error, for our God is love, and is just and perfect in all His ways, which includes His righteousness, holiness and wrath. The God we serve and worship today as New Testament believers, is exactly the same God who made Himself manifest to the Old Testament believers too!

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation [Continue reading…]