Divine Gift

Divine gift, blessed fire of light and heat,
That pillar to lead and shield, with God nearby —
Maker of peace where Lord and people meet —
Idolatrous altar where sons pass through and die.

#poetry #fire

A mighty powerful foe

Ron T. has a memorable post about the American Memorial Day. Among the good sentiments he shares is this:

Not to be out-shone at all, but to be elevated to the highest pedestal available are those who take up the armor of God. In its own right, a far greater battle in which each is engaged (cf. 1 Peter 2:11). When one takes up the armor of God, he (she) can no longer take up his personal way of thinking and engage an enemy; instead, one must take up a new way of thinking and engage the enemy within (cf. Gal. 2:20). Satan is a mighty powerful foe, a foe so strong there is no chance we will be victorious if we engage him on our own terms. In fact, Satan desires that we think we can. He never loses!

#memorial-day, #quotes, #satan

Notes: Inseparable love, Romans 8

Elsewhere it was observed that the first notes in my new Bible were on Romans 8.28-39. They were mere memory ticklers, since I often preach without notes or with just key words. But they might set off some good thoughts for you, so here they are:

  1. Action of God, 28.
  2. Gift of God, 32.
  3. Justification of God, 32-34.
  4. Conquering love of God, 35-39.

In the first part of the chapter, the Holy Spirit appears. In the second half, however, God the Father comes to the fore. The little outline above reflects that.

#god, #romans, #sermon-notes

Suggestions for wives

Stephen Bradd has good suggestions here. He deals with several attitudes:

“There are women who are thinking to themselves right now: ‘I’m better qualified than my husband is to be in charge. I’m smarter and therefore better qualified to lead.'”

http://www.audioevangelism.com/lessons/2007/transcripts/AE_2007_05_25_text.htm

#marriage #wife

Destination reached

Destination of a long journey reached. Needed: rest, food, bath. So have travelers in all eras required after a trek, be it on foot, by Roman cargo ship, by carriage, or by a metal tube hurtling through the skies.

The Lord answered prayer for safe travels and, above and beyond, removed a traveler from our three-seat section so that the Missus and I had some extra space.

On arrival, a beautiful study Bible awaited me, gracious gift from a good friend. Did son and family get neglected for a few minutes while said Scripture got examined with care? The debate is open.

#travel

Short exhortations

You might be interested in this short exhortation on wanting heaven for yourself and for others: http://randal.us/want-heaven/

It’s a part of a series, called “O Soul,” that you just might see published later this year in a little bitty book. http://randal.us/tag/o-soul/

It’s spiritual self-talk that I need to hear. I pray it speaks to you as well.

If you want, you can sign up to the site for them, but you’ll get other micro-posts as well. Just be aware of that.

#exhortation #links #spirituality

Church as destination

Definition of terms is always appropriate, especially here:

Church not a destination? Depends on your definition of church.

If the church is God’s present manifestation of his kingdom, absolutely that’s my destination.

#church

No, alcohol doesn’t have a safe level

That’s what I get from this article.

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/24/17242720/alcohol-health-risks-facts

What they’ve been telling us is wrong.

#alcohol #drinking

What’s the birth date of your church?

The United Methodist Church is celebrating 50 years of its birth with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. An article published today interviewed witnesses who recalled the birth of the new denomination.

The article’s title reminds one of Jesus’ words in Mark 9.1: “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” The original witnesses to the new manifestation of God’s kingdom, in the church, have long passed away. Continue reading

#church, #denominationalism

How to read the Bible more with little effort

Some browsers (I use Brave) allow you to define what you will see when you open up a new tab. If you’d like a new way to put Scripture always before you, do this:

1. In your browser settings, choose to open “home page” whenever a new tab is opened. (In Brave and, probably, other Chromium derivatives, it’s in General Settings.)

2. Set your home page to this link.

Now, whenever you open a new tab, a random verse from the NET Bible will appear.

Enjoy!

(This is not a substitute for planned Bible reading, but it’s another fine option for getting the Word of God before your eyes, as per Deut 6.6-9.)

#bible-reading, #web-browsers

Those steps to salvation

Preparations for my office move prompted a collection of studies in a future book, hopefully not too far in the future. Over 300 pages so far. Working title, Knowledge of the Gospel.

One series of studies in the book, which I’m now preaching in the Urbanova congregation, focuses on the divine initiative. We teach, and rightly so, the steps to salvation. Each of those steps is a response to an initiative of God’s. Here’s the structure:

  1. Word of God : hear, believe.
  2. Glory of God : repent.
  3. Son of God : confess.
  4. Salvation of God : be immersed.
  5. Family of God : love, serve, speak.

The emphasis falls on what God does. Then comes our response. This approach provides needed context for the steps to salvation and provides them greater weight of importance.

We have several non-Christians meeting with us, including my neighbor, with whom I’ve been studying, and a nice young couple, with two small daughters, who visited the first time on the first sermon in the series and have been attending since then. The couple are neighbors of Douglas and Ludmila, and were invited by them. (I shared the third lesson tonight, Apr 8.) Pray they may turn to the Lord.

#god, #gospel-sermons, #plan-of-salvation, #steps-to-salvation

Anybody have a biblical version of the ‘4 spiritual laws’

We know that there are multiple problems with the evangelical presentation of the so-called “Four Spiritual Laws,” created by Bill Bright working with Campus Crusade.

Are you aware of anyone in the brotherhood coming up with a biblical version of this presentation?

I know of one here in Brazil.

I’d be interested in seeing others. I’m working on an outline about it (in Portuguese, sorry). Would love to insert some tweaks by the brethren.

Please share a link if you know of one.

#evangelism, #four-spiritual-laws, #salvation

What role does prayer play in understanding the Bible?

In April I’ll be teaching an intensive study on “Exegese and Hermeneutics” as a part of a congregation training program in another state. The program focuses on helping the men learn better to preach and teach.

I’d like to do a short segment on prayer. Please respond in the comments, or send me an email, with your thoughts on what role prayer plays in understanding the Bible.

Of course, I don’t expect anyone to tell us that we should pray and then God will give us a revelation. I would like, however, some specific ideas on the topic.

So this is not a gotcha question. I’m looking for some practical perspectives that I can offer these men.

#prayer #Bible-study #exegese #hermeneutics

True Christians are not more of this or less of that

A headline to a religious website boasted that a person had become less evangelical and more progressive in his faith. People speak in such terms with not the least bit of awareness of Scripture, all the while pretending to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The name of Christian does not tolerate degrees of this or that, or divisions into this or that group. A Christian is who he is by the grace of God and the truth of the gospel.

A Christian is not of the world. He belongs to Christ. As such, he wears no name but the Lord’s and seeks no truth but the Good News. The Lord refuses to share his glory with the honors of men.

The history of religion is a history of division. This is why we seek to return to the New Testament, where the original plan of faith is set forth.

It is not an act of hubris to jump all those centuries of “church” history, but an act of humility, because it sets aside the theologies and departures of man in order to embrace the simple model of Christ.

Scripture is sufficient. We seek to live in a manner worthy of the name of Christ. Our gospel is the simple plan of salvation. Men many call themselves after their denominations, theologies, or leaders. Following Christ means rejecting all these to become nothing more or less than the children of God.

#christian, #religious-division

Remember and call a person by his name

A person’s name is one of his most precious possessions. To call a person by his name, to remember his name after you have met him, shows that you value that person. Many will be impressed that you remember. They will see it as a sign that you care. O Soul, remember names as a first step into a person’s life. The respect you show others by doing this may allow you to know the person behind the name. This is true, of course, of God, and no less true of human beings.

#names #memory #relationships