Sunday, March 24, 2019

THE WONDER OF LOVE


THE WONDER OF LOVE

  I knew I loved my future husband long before I knew he loved me. My love for him was a wonderful feeling at times, but a terrible feeling at others because I was afraid he wouldn’t love me.
  It is just the opposite for God’s love for me – He loved me first! I had heard about God and Jesus and their love all my life, but the Sunday morning when I really heard John 3:16 and understood why Christ had died and that He had died for me; I felt a love and sense of gratitude beyond any human words!
  That was the moment I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and became a BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN!
  I still feel the gratitude and wonder!
Leslie Nivens

Friday, March 22, 2019

THE NEW DARK AGE


THE DARK NEW AGE

Question: "What is the New Age movement?"
Answer: The expression “New Age” came into existence in the 1970s and 1980s. It was promoted by the circulation of the New Age Journal and a book by Mark Satin called New Age Politics. Marilyn Ferguson’s best-selling Aquarian Conspiracy was a presentation of the social agenda and philosophical vision of the New Age. Ferguson’s writing attained status as the unofficial scripture of the movement. As Russell Chandler, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in Understanding the New Age, “If Ferguson wrote the New Age ‘Bible,‘ Shirley MacLaine is its high priestess.”
  Shirley MacLaine’s book, Out on a Limb, chronicles her reluctant conversion to New Age belief. This book describes her travels and studies, which include science fiction-like dimensions, out-of-body travel, contact with extraterrestrial beings, “trance channeling” (séances), and a “guided tour” of the unseen world. MacLaine’s second book, Dancing in the Light, tells about her reach into the world of yoga, reincarnation, crystal power, Hindu mantras, and past-life recall experiences mediated through acupuncture. Her spirit guides informed her that each individual is God, and she passed along the “wisdom” that the person is unlimited. One only has to realize it (Chandler, page 6-2).
  New Age thinking has its roots, then, in Eastern mysticism, which attempts to bypass the mind. There is a new organ of perception—the third eye—which gives spiritual light. One needs to get to the “psychic self” by training one’s self to ignore messages from the mind or to see that the mind is actually achieving “cosmic consciousness.” The mind can create reality.
  Neil Anderson in his book, Walking Through the Darkness, writes this: “The New Age movement is not seen as a religion but a new way to think and understand reality. It’s very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority” (page 22). Anderson goes on to summarize New Age thinking (pages 22–24) as follows:
     (1) It is monism. The belief that all is one and one is all. History is not the story of humanity’s fall into sin and its restoration by God’s saving grace. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into enlightenment.
     (2) All is God. If all is one, including God, then one must conclude that all is God. It is pantheism—trees, snails, books, and people are all of one divine essence. A personal God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is completely rejected. Since God is impersonal, the New Ager doesn’t have to serve Him. God is an “it,” not a “He.”
     (3) There is a change in consciousness. If we are God, we need to know we are God. We must become cosmically conscious, enlightened, or attuned to the cosmic consciousness. Some who reach this enlightened status will claim to be “born again”—a counterfeit of biblical conversion. The essential is not whether we believe or meditate, but whom we believe in and what we meditate upon. Christ is the true, personal, objective reality, as He said that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
     (4) A cosmic evolutionary optimism is taught. There is a New Age coming. There will be a new world order, a new world government. New Age thinkers believe that there will eventually be a progressive unification of world consciousness. This, according to the Bible, is a counterfeit kingdom led by Satan himself. Christ has the true kingdom, and He will one day rule on earth with peace for all who accept Him as Savior and King (Revelation 5:13).
     (5) New Agers create their own reality. They believe they can create reality by what they believe, and, by changing what they believe, they can change reality. All moral boundaries have been erased. There are no absolutes because there is no distinction between good and evil. Nothing has reality until one says that it is reality or says that it is truth. If finite man can create truth, we are in desperate trouble in our society. Unless there are eternal absolutes from the eternal God, man will eventually be his own destruction.
     (6) New Agers make contact with the kingdom of darkness. Calling a medium a “channeler” and a demon a “spirit guide” has not changed the reality of what they are. This is the kingdom of darkness of which Satan is the head. Those involved in this kind of activity are in contact with a world that is totally opposed to the biblical God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan (Matthew 4:1–11; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14–18).
  The New Age movement is a counterfeit philosophy that appeals to the feelings of individuals, leading them to think that that they are God and can enhance their lives through their own person. The reality is that we are born, grow up, live a while on planet Earth, and die. Humans are finite. We can never be God. We need someone greater than we who can provide us forgiveness and life eternal. Praise the Lord for the God-man, Jesus Christ. Through His death and bodily resurrection, He has won for us what we desperately need: forgiveness from God, a life of purpose and meaning in this life, and eternal life beyond the grave. Don’t miss out on who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you. Read John chapter 3. Ask Christ to be your Savior. Your life will be transformed, and you will know who you are, why you are here, and where you are going.

© Copyright 2002-2019 Got Questions Ministries.
www.GotQuestions.org

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WORLD magazine, March 2019. Magical Thinking, by Emily Belz reporting information from Pew Research Center survey of Americans: 62% hold at least one New Age belief, the power of crystals, astrology, reincarnation et al.  “Sunday Stalwarts”, regular church participants describing their faith as the most important source of meaning in their life also hold at least one New Age belief. Among self-described evangelicals, 19% believe in reincarnation, 33% in psychics, Among the Sunday Stalwarts responding 30% said they believe in spiritual energy focused in physical objects like crystals and mountains. The number was much higher (47%) among Catholics than evangelicals (24%). The company U.S. Game Systems reported that Tarot cards sales continue to steadily increase.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

STUDYING AS A WORKMAN


STUDYING AS A WORKMAN
Thursday, March 21, 2019

  Being a workman unashamed requires compliance. Sitting before this keyboard at 6:45am I felt compelled to do some searching, organize results, then share as a DT, as I did so assured that some fellow travelers would delight in the information.
  Using eSword.net I began with a KJV word search of mentions/in verses and discovered the following.

“Jesus”: Gospels & Acts 693/672; Pauline epistles 235/220; James 2/2; Peter 20/18; John’s epistles 14/14; Jude 5/4; Revelation 14/12

“Christ”: G&A 91/88; Paul 419/389; James 2/2; Pet. 29/26; John 14/13; Jude 5/4; Rev. 11/10

“Lord”: G&A 360/333; Paul 299/272; James 15/13; Peter 23/22; John 1/1; Jude 7/6; Rev. 23/23

“God”: G&A 493/438; Paul 641/562; James 17/13; Peter 47/43; John 70/46; Jude. 5/4; Rev. 99/90

“Lord Jesus Christ”: G&A 6/6; Paul 68/65; James 2/2; Peter 4/4; John 1/1; Jude 3/3; Rev. 1/1

  Thinking it would also be helpful for the heavy lifters I’m providing from biblestudytools.com:
Appendix 8: CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
While no arrangement of these books can be made with absolute confidence, the following dates are sufficiently reliable to serve the purpose of the Bible student.
James - 50 A.D.
First Thessalonians - 52-53.
Second Thessalonians - 52-53.
Galatians - 55.
First Corinthians - 57.
Second Corinthians - 57.
Romans - 57-58.
Philippians - 62-63.
Colossians - 62-63.
Philemon - 62-63.
Ephesians - 62-63.
Luke - 63.
Acts - 64.
First Timothy - 65.
Titus - 65.
Second Timothy - 66.
Mark - 66.
Matthew - 67.
Hebrews - 67.
First Peter - 67-68.
Second Peter - 68.
Jude - 68.
Apocalypse - 68.
John - c. 85.
Epistles of John - 90-95.

  Please share what you dig from the above information and thereby edifying me and others as I pass it on as a later DT.
EBB4

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR


CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

  Grandmother McGee often told little Sunny (me) she believed that at birth I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle . . . and, that with all my expressed cravings I should be careful about what I wished for. Later I realized “How true!”
  In spite of repeatedly experiencing God’s deliverance the Israelites wished for the wrong thing . . . and got it!
  Recorded in Numbers 14:1-2 we see their emotionally hysterical wishing: After the Israelites heard negative reporting from ten of the 12 male spies that had explored Canaan, the people wailed and moaned all night, and complained to Moses and Aaron, "We wish we had died in Egypt or somewhere out here in the desert!” Not bad enough of itself, they included blame shifting along with discussing democracy as the better path. (Note verses 1:4, 10a)
  Reading a little further we see Jehovah’s giving them their wish: “As I live, says Jehovah, as you have spoken in My ears, so I will do to you. Your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness …” (MKJV 14:28-29)
  What is it we yearn for? Healing that brings with it a longer life, wealth that entails huge responsibilities, or possibly some other personal delight hankered for? Let’s be very very careful. We may get what we wish for! (Isaiah 38:1-6; 39:1-6) 
EBB4


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

JESUS IS CALLING?


JESUS IS CALLING?
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Question: "Is Jesus Calling a good book? Are there any doctrinal problems with Jesus Calling?"
Answer: Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young, has become an exceedingly popular book since its first release in 2004. Readers have been encouraged to live in God’s presence and listen for His voice. The devotionals are based on messages the author claims to have received from Jesus and are passed along to the reader as if God is talking.
  GotQuestions.org cautions readers of Jesus Calling. Young’s writings should not be seen as new revelation from God. The Bible is complete and contains everything we need “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). While Young admits that her work is different from God’s Word, some readers equate her devotions as Jesus’ words to them personally. This conclusion is understandable, since Young tells the reader that the words are from God Himself. In the mind of the reader, how can words from God be any less authoritative than the Bible? If the words are from God, how are they not inspired?
  In earlier editions of the book, Young describes her inspiration for Jesus Calling. She discovered a little booklet called God Calling, written by two anonymous “listeners.” Young may not have known that the authors of God Calling used the occult practice of automatic writing to receive their messages. Even so, Young said, “These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from [God]. This little paperback became a treasure to me. It dove-tailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.” The references to the controversial book God Calling have been removed from recent editions of Jesus Calling.
  Young may be sincere in her desire to encourage believers, but putting words in Jesus’ mouth is always dangerous. Claiming to speak for God is the same as taking the mantle of prophetess. God has already spoken. He designed that we hear Him in His Word, the Bible, which is the only authoritative book. Young yearned for something more than God’s inspired Word, and that yearning is the faulty premise for the book Jesus Calling.

© Copyright 2002-2019 Got Questions Ministries.   www.GotQuestions.org

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By Tim Challies
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Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling is a phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down. According to publisher Thomas Nelson, it “continues to grow in units sold each year since it was released [and] has surpassed 15 million copies sold.” Nelson is involved in an expansive new marketing campaign that involves a new web site and daily radio devotionals. ECPA reports that “Thomas Nelson began its partnership with the Salem Media group to provide 60-second daily messages on Eric Metaxas’ show, which is carried on more than 100 stations nationwide and worldwide on SiriusXM Radio. The Jesus Calling radio devotional reaches more than 500,000 people each day through these segments.” With 15 million copies sold, it has marched its way into rare company.
Yet it is a deeply troubling book. I am going to point out 10 serious problems with Jesus Calling in the hope that you will consider and heed these warnings.
1. She speaks for God. Far and away the most troubling aspect of the book is its very premise—that Sarah Young hears from Jesus and then dutifully brings his messages to her readers. Jesus Calling makes the boldest, gutsiest, and, to my mind, most arrogant claim of any book ever to be considered Christian. The publisher describes the book in this way: “After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world. In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace (italics mine).” There is no way to avoid her claim that she is communicating divine revelation, a claim that raises a host of questions and concerns, not the least of which is the doctrine of Scripture alone which assures us that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient to guide us in all matters of faith and practice.
Jesus Calling only exists because Sarah Young had a deep desire to hear from God outside of the Bible.
2. She proclaims the insufficiency of the Bible. Jesus Calling only exists because Sarah Young had a deep desire to hear from God outside of the Bible. In the introduction she describes the book’s genesis: “I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” In those few sentences she sets up unnecessary competition between her revelation and what we are told of the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Biblically, there is no category for what she provides as the heart and soul of her book. Biblically, there is no need for it and no reason we should expect or heed it.
3. Her deepest experience of God comes through a practice God does not endorse. Young does not only endorse her practice of listening, but goes so far as to elevate it as the chief spiritual discipline. “This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received. In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The messages that follow address that felt need.” Notice that her solution to addressing the desire for Jesus’ Presence and Peace is not Scripture or any other means of grace, but the very messages she provides in her book.
4. She is inspired by untrustworthy models. In early versions of Jesus Calling, Young tells of her discovery of the book God Calling and the way she modeled her practice of listening on it. She describes it as “a devotional book written by two anonymous ‘listeners.’ These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from Him. This little paperback became a treasure to me. It dove-tailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.” It is worth noting that recent versions of Jesus Calling have been scrubbed of this information. God Calling is an equally troubling book that saw much success beginning in the 1930s and has seen a revival of interest in the wake of Jesus Calling. It is at times subbiblical and at other times patently unbiblical. And yet it is a book she regards as a treasure and a model for her own work.
5. She provides lesser revelation. Young admits that her revelation is different from the Bible’s (“The Bible is, of course, the only inerrant Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard”), but does not explain how her writings are different. Jesse Johnson says, “She does grant that the content of Jesus Calling should be measured against Scripture—but that is true of Scripture as well. In the end, there is no substantial difference in how Young expects us to view Jesus’ words to her, than how we are to view the Bible. I mean, Jesus’ words to Sarah are literally packaged into a devotional, so that we can do our devotionals from them every day.” If her words are actually from Jesus, how can they be any less authoritative or less binding than any word of Scripture?
6. She mimics occult practices. The way in which Young receives her revelation from Jesus smacks of the occult. “I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. It addressed topics that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal.” This is not a far cry from a practice known as “automatic writing” which Wikipedia describes as “an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source.” Her inspiration was God Calling where it is even clearer that the authors allowed their minds to go blank at which point they supposedly received messages from God. This practice is very different from the giving of biblical revelation where God worked through the thoughts, personalities, and even research of the authors.
7. Her emphasis does not match the Bible’s. Young’s emphasis in Jesus Calling is markedly different from the emphases of the Bible. For example, she speaks seldom of sin and repentance and even less of Christ’s work on the cross. Michael Horton says, “In terms of content, the message is reducible to one point: Trust me more in daily dependence and you’ll enjoy my presence.” While this is not necessarily an unbiblical or inappropriate message, it hardly matches the thrust of the Bible which always pushes toward or flows from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Horton adds, “The first mention of Christ even dying for our sins appears on February 28 (page 61). The next reference (to wearing Christ’s robe) is August 9 (p. 232). Even the December readings focus on a general presence of Jesus in our hearts and daily lives, without anchoring it in Jesus’s person and work in history.”
The Jesus of Sarah Young sounds suspiciously like a twenty-first century, Western, middle-aged woman.
8. Her tone does not match the Bible’s. It can’t be denied: The Jesus of Sarah Young sounds suspiciously like a twenty-first century, Western, middle-aged woman. If this is, indeed, Jesus speaking, we need to explain why he sounds so markedly different from the Jesus of the gospels or the Jesus of the book of Revelation. Nowhere in Scripture do we find Jesus (or his Father) speaking like this: “When your Joy in Me meets My Joy in you, there are fireworks of heavenly ecstasy.” Or again, “Wear my Love like a cloak of Light, covering you from head to toe.” And, “Bring me the sacrifice of your precious time. This creates sacred space around you—space permeated with My Presence and My Peace.” Why does Jesus suddenly speak in such different language?
9. She generates confusion. By fabricating the spiritual discipline of listening and elevating it to the first place, she generates confusion about the disciplines that God does prescribe for Christians. Michael Horton addresses this one well: “According to the Reformation stream of evangelicalism, God speaks to us in his Word (the arrow pointing down from God to us) and we speak to him in prayer (the arrow directed up to God). However, Jesus Calling confuses the direction of these arrows, blurring the distinction between God’s speech and our response.” What she models and endorses is both confusing and unhelpful.
10. Her book has been corrected. Most people don’t know that Jesus Calling has undergone revisions, not only in the introduction where she removed references to God Calling, but also in the words she claims to have received from Jesus. This, of course, casts even further doubt on the trustworthiness of the revelation she receives. After all, why would words from Jesus need to be revised? Did God lie? Did he change? Did she mis-hear him? There is no good option here, other than to doubt all she has ever claimed to receive. This comparison from CARM highlights one significant correction to the text:

The point is clear: Jesus Calling is a book built upon a faulty premise and in that way a book that is dangerous and unworthy of our attention or affirmation. The great tragedy is that it is leading people away from God’s means of grace that are so sweet and so satisfying, if only we will accept and embrace them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

EDIFYING REVIEWS


Dear fellow travelers,
  Writing or providing Daily Thoughts (DTs) has a journaling aspect to it. And as with proper journaling, the writers should occasionally review lest we forget and get caught up in current events. There have been many of late. This morning while wondering which of my thoughts to write about I beneficially read the following that I now share with you in the hope you too will be edified.
EBB4

A CONFIDENT SAYING
Saturday, May 08, 2010

Friday 5/7/10
  2Corinthians 5:1-9 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our dwelling-place out of Heaven; if indeed in being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tabernacle groan, being burdened; inasmuch as we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that the mortal might be swallowed up by the life. And He who has worked in us for this same thing is God, who also is giving to us the earnest of the Spirit. Then being always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are away from home from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight; then we are confident and we are pleased rather to go away from home out of the body, and to come home to the Lord. Therefore we are also laboring to be well-pleasing to Him, whether at home or away from home.
  1John 3:18-21 My children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And in this we shall know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him, that if our heart accuses us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God.

  Ann’s day began with early morning appointment to draw yet more blood for testing. It turned out to be a near expiration experience with Ann later saying in trust “I thought I was going home.” (Jn.14:1)
  Not quite so exhausted as was, but still seriously fatigued, she is now resting in ICU Room 442, Immanuel Medical Center, 6901 North 72nd St, Omaha NE 68122. Medical team now considers blood infusion, in spite of her risk, as imperative necessity . . . followed immediately by start of low level chemotherapy even though all tests are not completed. When all test results are in adjusted treatment will begin in earnest.
  Some of you are postal carders. Feel free to do so in sending Ann a note. For those of you that send e-mail for her I’ll print out and deliver when I visit.
  Your support in thought and prayer is appreciated!
Ed Bullock 4th

Sunday, March 17, 2019

FORSAKEN


FORSAKEN
Sunday, March 17, 2019

Matthew 27:45-46 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

  Each day I write one of these devotionals after praying for guidance about what to write. Today I found no answer until now. It is nearly midnight and no amount of reading and praying had helped me decide on a subject until I read the last words of verse 46.
  As I read Christ’s question, I thought how terrible it would be to have God turn His back on me, but even more terrible for Him to have to turn from the Son He loved so much! And He did it because He loved me!
  How could I ever do enough to thank Him? How could I ever stop loving and worshipping Him? My Lord! My Master! My Keeper! My Friend!
Leslie Nivens, January 18th