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Friday, January 31, 2014

What is the Christian Life?

by Dave Hunt - Article Link - The Berean Call
Feb 1 2014
Excerpted from  An Urgent Call To A Serious Faith: A Prophetic Alarm for the Bride of Christ  
Surely a phrase that is repeated four times in the Bible must contain one of God’s most important teachings. The life God gives is only for the  just —but who is  just ? The Bible leaves no doubt as to the answer: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes:7:20); “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans:3:23). God’s law demands, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke:10:27). By that standard we have all broken God’s law repeatedly and are condemned.
Nor is there any way that we, as sinners, could become  just . Living a perfect life in the future (even if that were possible) could never merit forgiveness for sins already committed or deliver from the judgment which God’s justice righteously demands. Saving a million lives in the future, for example, could never atone for having taken just one life in the past. Only God could declare a sinner to be “just”—but how could He, when His irrevocable law condemns us? For God simply to forgive the sinner would violate His own law and in itself would be unjust.
Paul, inspired of the Holy Spirit, explains how God can justly justify sinners: “Being justified freely by his [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…for the remission of sins…that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans:3:24-26). Forgiving the sinner and declaring him just comes only on the basis of Christ having paid the full penalty demanded by God’s justice against sin, and the sinner having personally accepted that payment by Christ. Forgiveness cannot come about through good deeds, church attendance, sacraments, baptism, scapulars or medals, prayers, tears, promises, charitable gifts—or anything else that pastor, priest, church, or Mary could do. Only the infinite God Himself, coming as a sinless man through the virgin birth, could bear, in our place, the infinite penalty we deserved.
New Life in Christ
One cannot even begin to “live by faith” while “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians:2:1), which is mankind’s natural condition. One must be made “alive from the dead” (Romans:6:13) by receiving God’s forgiveness in Christ. The Christian life of faith is only for those who are “in the faith” (2 Corinthians:13:5). Living “a good Christian life” is not the way to become a Christian. Only those who already are Christians can live that life. Nor is it lived in order to earn heaven, which is impossible, but out of gratitude to Christ for having paid the penalty for sin.
A Christian has been “born again” of the Spirit of God (John:3:3-8) through “the Word of God” (1 Peter:1:23) by believing the gospel (Romans:1:16) and is a “new creature” (2 Corinthians:5:17) in Christ, having been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians:2:10). If we trust Him to do so, surely God will open the right doors, guide each step of every Christian’s life, and provide the means of fulfilling the “good works” that He has ordained for each of us.
Clearly, one must first enter upon the Christian life by faith in Christ in order to begin to “live by faith.” Paul exhorts us, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians:2:6). And how did we receive Christ? As helpless, hopeless sinners who could do nothing for our own salvation but had to look entirely to Christ to save us. In that same attitude of unworthiness and complete dependence upon God for His grace and upon Christ to live His life through us, we live by faith the Christian life.
Christ told Paul that His strength was perfected in Paul’s weakness (2 Corinthians:12:9). We must stop trying to be strong in ourselves, and “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians:6:10). The battle with the forces of evil, God assures us, will be won “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit…” (Zechariah:4:6). There is great joy, even in great trials, in trusting Christ and seeing what He can do.
That the Christian life is to be lived by faith tells us that it comes supernaturally, not naturally, as we trust God and know and obey His Word. It cannot be by our own direction and strength but only under the leading and by the power of God, who alone is the proper object of faith. Yes, the Christian life is miraculous. Expect it to be. Beware, however, of the widespread unbiblical emphasis upon, and insatiable desire for, the miraculous, which foster delusion. One of today’s most prominent televangelists and proponents of signs and wonders has written, “you can perform miracles if you but understand…the laws…that unlock God’s power…the flow of God’s energy….” In another book, he asserts, “We speak to money, and it comes. We speak to storms, and they cease….” Money comes from his mailing list, and this country has recently experienced the worst storms in years without any intervention from him.
The most powerful evidence of God’s supernatural work in our lives is found in the transformation of our character to Christlikeness. The “fruit,” not of “therapy,” but “of the Spirit,” is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians:5:22,23). The “works of the flesh” (Galatians:5:19-21), no matter how exemplary, are not acceptable to God (Romans:8:8). To live the Christian life, one must learn to “live in the Spirit” and “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians:5:25).
This is not to deny the benefit of education, diligence, hard work, prudent investment, experience, and sound practice in earning one’s “daily bread” (Matthew:6:11). Earthly success, however, though legitimate, is not the Christian’s goal in life. Christ declared, “…a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke:12:15); “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew:6:19-21).
The Trial of Faith
The fact that the Christian life is supernatural does not guarantee the “financial success” promised by today’s false prophets—nor that we will be free of trouble, sorrow, or pain. Positive confession leaders forget that it was from prison that Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13); and in the same context he declared, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (verse 11).
The Christian life is too glorious to be easy. It must involve trials and testings. This was true of Christ himself as well as of the apostles and early church. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John:16:33); “The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (15:20).
Avoiding this uncomfortable truth, a “user-friendly gospel” is preached by thousands of pastors. Mega-churches are created by offering an appealing “Christianity” that is guaranteed to bring success and popularity with the world, but which would not be recognized by Paul or the other apostles as the Christian life they knew. Celebrities popular with the world are paid to enter today’s pulpits to endorse Christ; thereby they entice multitudes into a false Christianity. Once upon a time the Christian’s heroes were missionaries and martyrs. Not today. Believers and the world now share the same role models. Today’s successful church offers a Christianity guaranteed to be comfortable and which provides numerous services, from 12-step programs to psychological counseling, to escape every possible trial.
The faith by which the Christian life is to be lived and which is described as “more precious than gold” must be tested by temptations, trials, and difficulties. Why? So that when the faith by which the just live comes through the fire of adversity it will “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter:1:7). Of Christ, who left us “an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter:2:21), it was said, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews:12:2). We are able to endure earthly trials because our hope lies beyond this brief life: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians:4:17).
Those who have trusted God through a deep trial testify that their faith has been strengthened and their joy increased. Having to depend totally on Christ draws us closer to Him and increases our love for Him. Any counsel, help, or support we offer to those in distress should bring them through the trial of faith with their roots deepened in Christ (Isaiah:43:2), rather than enable them to escape the very challenges God intends and the work He desires to effect in their hearts. By allowing us to face seemingly hopeless situations, God intends to move us from mere intellectual belief to practical trust in His provision.
In  The Power of the Spirit  William Law writes, “Whenever a man allows himself to have anxieties, fears, or complaints, he must consider his behavior as either a denial of the wisdom of God or as a confession that he is out of His will” (pp. 20,21). Many who call themselves Christians say they have trusted Christ with their eternal destiny, but seem unable to trust Him in this life—a fact which casts doubt on their relationship to Him.
God wants to test our faith now—and for good reason. Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deuteronomy:8:2). Oswald Chambers said, “God wants you to understand that it is a life of  faith , not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings….Faith by its very nature must be tried…. ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust him’—this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible” ( My Utmost for His Highest , p. 305).
“Yea, though I walk  through  the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me,” wrote David (Psalm:23:4). He did not expect, much less plead, to be given another path that would bypass that terrible valley, but only that God would be

with him through his trial. Living by faith involves confronting the difficulties of life, which indeed may have been allowed of God to test and correct us. The Christian life includes learning where we have gone astray and being willing to be corrected and brought back into obedience to God and His Word. It is often in times of distress alone that God can break the hold of that which has drawn our affection away from Him, perhaps without our even knowing it.
Committed to Christ Come What May
As we walk by faith, and experience God’s faithfulness in trials, praise and worship well up within us. Indeed, praise and worship are to play a significant role in the Christian life. Sadly, so many of today’s praise and worship songs reflect the lack of depth in current Christianity. Congregational singing often consists of empty, repetitive choruses which have taken the place of the old hymns of the faith. Phrases are repeated again and again, such as “We worship You, Lord, we praise You, Lord, we lift Your name on high, we lift our hands, we exalt You,” and so on. There is much clapping and swaying to the catchy tune and beat. Yet the congregation and the “worship team” seem oblivious of the fact that instead of truly praising and worshiping, they are merely singing words about praise and worship, without mentioning God’s character, qualities, and deeds which evoke worship.
Sound doctrine, too, plays a vital role in the Christian life of faith. Paul’s life sets the example for us all. In describing his life to Timothy, he put  doctrine  first: “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions….Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy:3:10-12). He also warned that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (4:3). We are in that day. Doctrine is despised. Entertainment and sermonettes are more popular with today’s Christianettes (loosely quoted from A. W. Tozer).
One well-known Christian leader writes that “the Bible is not an impractical book of theology, but rather a practical book of life containing a system of thought and conduct that will guarantee success….” His idea that theology is “impractical” is shared by millions. And “success”—which he, as a multimillionaire, enjoys in abundance—is now measured by the world’s standards instead of by God’s.
Our hope is in heaven and in the imminency of the rapture which will transport us out of this evil world into His presence. In the meantime, our confident trust in our Lord through the trials of this life of faith demonstrates the reality of our trust in Him for eternity. A true story about Blondin, who walked back and forth on a tightrope across Niagara Falls, illustrates the point.
One day, in the crowd watching Blondin, a spectator was trying to explain to a younger man what it means to truly trust Christ. “What do you think of Blondin?” he asked. “He’s the greatest!” came the enthusiastic response. “Do you think he can carry a man across and back?” “Of course,” was the immediate reply. “I’ve seen him do it.” Looking the younger man squarely in the eye, the questioner said, “When Blondin comes back from the other side, he’s going to call for a volunteer. Will you be the man?” The young man turned white. “Not on your life!” he exclaimed.
Many have a similarly theoretical faith in Christ. They can sing enthusiastically about salvation, but when life’s adversities strike they have no real peace and joy and run to the nearest therapist instead of to the Lord. May He give us grace to live by faith as true Christians; and may earth’s trials strengthen our faith, deepen our love for God, increase our fellowship with and joy in Him, and bring honor and glory to Him for eternity.

Obama’s Pen vs. the Constitution

~~Barack Obama has now revealed that he unilaterally plans to use executive orders to “bypass” Congress. His shocking words were: “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation. … I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions.”
I hope every American actually sees Obama speak those words on a TV or computer screen. His dictatorial attitude, layered with arrogance and condescension, should be repudiated by a self-governing people.
~~Obama claims to have taught constitutional law but he doesn’t seem to be familiar with the Constitution’s words. Lost in his shuffle are “all legislative powers” are vested in Congress, and the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
He refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton). He used his now-famous pen to wipe out key sections of the 1996 bipartisan Welfare Reform law and of Obamacare (which his appointees repeatedly bragged is “the law of the land”), and to “legislate” the Dream Act which Congress refused to enact.
For decades, the liberals have tried to take total control of public school curriculum so they can mold the minds of our youngsters into activists for leftwing causes. Obama’s famous “pen” can now achieve that goal.
Back in 1951, the National Education Association (NEA) published the “American Citizens Handbook,” which proclaimed, “It is important that people who are to live and work together shall have a common mind — a like heritage of purpose, religious ideals, love of country, beauty, and wisdom to guide and inspire them.” That goal was fortified by selections for memorization, including Old and New Testament passages, Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, Golden Rule, Boy Scout oath, and patriotic songs.
Then public schools started to change under the influence of Humanist John Dewey and his followers. Sidney Simon sold a million copies of his book “Values Clarification” urging kids to abandon their parents’ old-fashioned values and make their own choices about what is right or wrong.
Schoolchildren were no longer taught to read by phonics but were subjected to what was called “whole language,” which taught them to guess text from pictures and memorize one-syllable words. That entire sorry story was told in Rudolf Flesch’s landmark book “Why Johnny Can’t Read.”
In a famous and widely quoted 1992 letter to “Dear Hillary,” the then-incoming First Lady, education guru Marc Tucker called on the government “to remold the entire American [school] system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone.” Then came a series of fads marketed as improving test scores, but which actually continued the dumbing-down process.
Meanwhile we had the Kinsey invasion of curriculum to teach explicit sex education to younger and younger children, shredding them of their natural modesty. Fads continued with death education, suicide education, environmental education, and endless promotion of “self-esteem.”
We had a year of toying with new History Standards, which omitted many historical leaders and facts that most Americans believe students should learn, and we had the highly touted “Goals 2000″ and “School to Work.” More recent fads were “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top,” which were used to delude parents into believing that schools were producing a new generation where, like the kids in the Lake Wobegon radio program, every child is above average.
William Blackstone’s summary of English law in 1765 included the right of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their own children because parents were assumed to act in their kids’ best interest. Unfortunately, American law was shuffled around by our lawyers in the 1970s, and the “best interest of the child” was taken away from parents and given to judges.
Family court judges now exercise discretion (a.k.a., personal bias) to make thousands of decisions about children instead of their parents, including where they live and with which parent for how many hours a week, how family money is spent and by whom, and even where kids may go to school and church.
Don’t look to the regular courts for a remedy. The federal Ninth Circuit ruled against parents, and in the 2005 version of its opinion ruled that parents’ rights do “not extend beyond the threshold of the school door” and that public schools have the right to provide students with “whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.”
Obama’s pen is now forcing schools to use the Common Core standards, and parents are up in arms nationwide about what they see as defective methods, bad choices of readings, obnoxious federal control through required tests, and the computerizing of very private information on all students.

Preach the Word: Because It Is the Good News of Salvation

by John MacArthur - Source Link - gty.org
You wouldn’t withhold the cure for cancer from someone in desperate need of it. Nor would you offer a home remedy in its place. And yet that’s what many pastors do when they substitute their own opinions and wisdom for the life-transforming truth of God’s Word.
We’re looking at some specific reasons I still preach the Bible after more than four decades of pulpit ministry. Last time we discussed how the message of Scripture is timeless and truly powerful.
A second reason to faithfully preach the Word is that Scripture alone unfolds God’s plan of salvation. As Peter said to Jesus, “To whom [else] shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Why would I ever go anywhere else for spiritual answers than to the inspired revelation of Jesus Christ? Scripture reveals “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). I certainly don’t have the words of life; nor does anyone else. Only He does.
The Bible makes it clear that no matter what people’s “felt needs” may be, their real need is for forgiveness and salvation from sin, so as to escape eternal hell and enter the bliss of heaven. A fulfilled life, a happy marriage, a loving friendship, a successful career—those “needs” pale in comparison with the eternal issue facing every human being. It does not make any sense, then, for pastors to focus all of their energies on temporal surface attitudes while leaving the most profound eternal needs unaddressed. Besides, a true understanding of eternal life changes how you react to the passing troubles of this life.
The Bible also makes it clear that genuine belief includes more than just mental assent (cf. James 2:19). Biblical faith is more than just a profession of faith; it is a change of allegiance—from the mastery of sin to the lordship of Christ. It certainly would be convenient for me to preach a gospel that says, “If you’ve ever made a profession of faith in Jesus, then you’re saved, even if there’s nothing in your life to validate that claim.” But I can’t do that, because that’s not the true gospel. The true gospel repeatedly commands unbelievers to repent (Matthew 4:17;11:20–21Mark 6:12Luke 5:3213:3515:71024:47Acts 2:383:1911:1817:3020:212 Corinthians 7:9–102 Timothy 2:25) and declares, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). It urges you to “test” yourself “to see if you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), and reminds you that believers will be known “by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16-18; cf. Luke 6:43–44). So I preach the Bible because I want to make sure I’m preaching the true gospel, not a gospel of my own imagination.
When I came out of seminary, I really did not expect to fight the battles I have fought over the last several decades. I knew I would face some different paradigms of ministry and opinions about ecclesiology. I understood that there were various views of eschatology, biblical inspiration, etc.  But I never thought I would spend most of my life on the broader evangelical front defending the biblical gospel and sound doctrine from so-called believers who attempted to undermine both. The Word of God, rightly interpreted, defines the truth.

Katy Perry: Conducts Witchcraft Ceremony In Front Of The Entire World?

~~Did you see Katy Perry’s performance at the Grammys?  It was essentially an occult themed ritual.  Various media reports say that Perry “dressed up as a witch”, and her performance included a Knights Templar cross emblazoned across her chest, a beast with Moloch horns, dancers in dark robes with devil horns protruding from their heads, and pole dancing with a broom.  At the end of the “ceremony”, Perry was “burned at the stake” as the song ended.  All of this hardcore occult symbolism did not get into her performance by accident.  The attention to detail that this performance exhibited shows that someone put a lot of thought and effort into it.  So was Perry actually kidding when she said that she had “sold my soul to the devil” during a television interview a few years ago?  The kind of stuff that Perry is doing now is not for amateurs.  She is either working with someone who is deep into the occult or she is deep into it herself.  And of course the elite absolutely love this stuff.  Even if you don’t believe in “occult rituals” it is important to remember that the elite do.  In fact, many of them are completely obsessed with this stuff.  And they are more than happy to promote any performer that embraces their world.  That is why we see this stuff pop up in high profile public performances time after time after time.
But without a doubt, Kary Perry has taken things to an entirely new level.  A YouTube video that contains footage of her entire performance is posted below.  However, it should be noted that this is not appropriate for children to watch, so please use discretion…
Needless to say, her performance immediately prompted strong reactions all over the world.  The following are just a few of the things that people were saying about it on Twitter…
One user tweeted: “I mean they showed Katy Perry ‘s demonic witchcraft performance & I’m like oh that’s talent?”
Another said, “Katy Perry promoting witchcraft, demons, magic, Satanism, the dark horse with demonic red eyes of the apocalypse ready for the perfect storm.”
“Katy Perry pole dancing on a witchcraft broom stick; everything I’ve ever aspired to be.”
“Katy Perry went from singing Country Gospel Music to Witchcraft on Tv….. Well then..”
“This Katy Perry performance look like some Witchcraft Devil Work”
And of course this is hardly the first time these kinds of symbols have appeared in Perry’s performances.
She appears to be someone that fully embraces the darkness.
For me, one of the most striking examples of this is her song “E.T.” in which she expresses her desire to have sex with an “extraterrestrial” who also could “be the devil”…

You’re so hypnotizing
Could you be the devil?
 Could you be an angel?
Your touch magnetizing
 Feels like I am floating
 Leaves my body glowing
They say, be afraid
 You’re not like the others
 Futuristic lover
Different DNA
 They don’t understand you
[Pre-Chorus]
 You’re from a whole ‘nother world
 A different dimension
 You open my eyes
 And I’m ready to go
 Lead me into the light
Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
 Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me
 Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien
 Your touch so foreign
 It’s supernatural
Extraterrestrial
[Verse 2]
 You’re so supersonic
 Wanna feel your powers
 Stun me with your lasers
 Your kiss is cosmic
 Every move is magic
[Pre-Chorus]
 You’re from a whole ‘nother world
 A different dimension
 You open my eyes
 And I’m ready to go
 Lead me into the light
[Chorus]
 Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
 Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me
 Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien
 Your touch so foreign
 It’s supernatural
Extraterrestrial
[Bridge]
 This is transcendental
 On another level
 Boy, you’re my lucky star
I wanna walk on your wave length
 And be there when you vibrate
 For you I’ll risk it all
[Chorus]
 Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
 Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison
Take me, ta-ta-take me
 Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien
 Your touch so foreign
 It’s supernatural
Extraterrestrial
You have to be blind not to see what Perry is talking about in this song.
And the video for this song makes this message even more clear.  You can watch it right here.  It has been watched more than 256 million times on YouTube so far.
Having sex with “extraterrestrials”, “aliens”, “demons” or “the gods” is something that only those deep into the occult are into.  And Katy Perry is introducing these concepts to millions upon millions of young kids around the globe.
And what do you think is going to happen to these kids as they sing these words over and over out loud and in their minds?
That is why the elite love performers like Katy Perry so much.  They are the perfect platform for indoctrinating the youth of the planet into the occult one world religion that they have planned.
In fact, nearly all of the top music acts are into this stuff these days.  In a previous article, I discussed the Illuminati themes that permeate the music and performances of Jay Z and his wife Beyonce.  At the Grammys, this time there was not too much of that from Jay Z and Beyonce.  Instead, they seemed content to be as lewd as possible.  The following is how the Daily Mail described Beyonce’s performance…
Beyoncé’s Grammy Awards performance was slammed by concerned parents on Sunday as they deemed the incredibly risqué routine too explicit for children to watch.
The 32-year-old singer wore a revealing black thong bodysuit over fishnet tights to perform a rendition of her hit Drunk In Love alongside husband Jay Z at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Beyoncé’s sexy dance routine, which aired at 8pm on both coasts and at 7pm central time, had many furious parents posting comments on social media that the performance was ‘disrespectful’, had ‘no class’ and was entirely inappropriate for young viewers.
So what do you think about all of this?
Are you concerned about the occult themes in today’s music?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…