Sunday, May 28, 2017

Praise the Lamb, who is building His church

Crazy world! But the sane world is coming, and Jesus will rule and reign. So we study end time prophecy in order to obey the command of Him who said to be watchful, sober, and vigilant; to encourage each other with these words, and to turn our eyes from this world in preparation for the next. And let's offer His world to as many as we can! Let's encourage fellow saints who are fainting, embroiled in besetting sin, or who are only lukewarm. We all need encouragement, and it's the one thing these days that is FREE.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

But you, beloved, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, (Jude 1:20).

Have you been thinking all along that we were making a defense to you? We speak before God in Christ, and all of this, beloved, is to build you up. (2 Corinthians 12:19).

And soon enough, one of these days we will all really be physically going up, built up in Christ's majestic plan, and we will see it in its conclusion. He is building His church upon Himself, the Rock.(Matthew 16:18).

John Piper:
"I will build my church." The church is not a building. It’s a people, with or without a building. But the Bible pictures this people sometimes as tree that grows and sometimes as a building that is built. The point is that this people has a builder, and the builder is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus builds the church.
Photo EPrata

Praise the Lamb!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Does God speak to us? Should I expect Him to?

How can I hear God? What do you do to listen to God? Will God be giving me explicit instructions for my life, like He seems to be doing for so many other women?

Beth Moore book: Jesus, the One and Only, p. 48.
Personalized whispers are not scripture, nor are they equal to scripture. "Personalized whispers" is not a teaching method Jesus uses. Yet women are being taught consistently and for decades that it is.

The concerning part is that this generation of younger women has been raised on a steady diet of women in celebrity positions who, for decades, have 'taught' the above, that they regularly hear the voice of God. Therefore, women coming up now believe it is the norm to have a personal God in your pocket whispering instructions to you for every little thing, from career moves to audible instruction in theology. But this is most assuredly not the case.

What these celebrity women leaders have done is create a discontent among female congregants who do not have a personal God and wonder what they are doing wrong because they don't. Because of the poor teaching and constant eisegesis in their celebrity lessons that they, unfortunately, have relied upon, many younger women now realize they lack the skills to understand God's will in a biblical way.

The will of God is to repent & believe, be baptized and participate in communion, and obey Him all your life.

We know how and where to obey in specific life choices because we read the Bible.

For example, as far as day-to-day choices go, like where to live, what college to go to, whom to marry or whether to marry, the more we obey, the more we're conformed to Him, which means the more we can confidently decide for ourselves, knowing God prevents bad choices and ordains all things, AND makes all things work to the good of those who love Him. This is where trust comes in. We pray, (not to 'hear back' but to repent and submit and praise His sovereignty over all things), we understand the generalities of God's will for our lives (Matthew 22:36-40). Then we pull up our big girl panties and we just decide.

Should we expect to hear from God? NO. Here are two scriptural explanations why. I repeat, we should NOT expect to hear God audibly, or in a still small, voice, or even in signs or omens, tell us specifically what to do or where to do at any given moment.

Ladies, expect to find God's will by reading the Bible, whereupon the Spirit can conform you to His image and likeness and renew your mind. Don't expect to hear a personalized whisper, an impression on your heart, or an audible voice directly telling you. Ultimately the reality of our sanctification is more delicate, mysterious, and beautiful than any whispers could ever be.

RESOURCES


"God told me...?" a 90-second video.


The Blazing Center has an essay titled "Listening to God without Getting All Weird About It". HT Michelle Lesley

Two other resources for you on God's will

Here is GotQuestions with a short answer to 'What is God's will?'
Know God's will

And John MacArthur with a longer answer-
Taking the Mystery out of God's Will

Sola Sisters, from 2012-
False Teachings About Hearing Audible Words From God Taking Even Deeper Root in Today's Church

Grace To You blog from 2016
That's Not Jesus Calling


Friday, May 26, 2017

Visual Exegesis: Full of Eyes' "Members of the Body"

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at https://www.patreon.com/fullofeyes, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

Chris' most recent work is below, with his artist's statement below the picture

Members of the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-13, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit were were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit."
The short explanation:

The bond of the Church's unity is the Holy Spirit who is/creates within each member of the Church a consent to / love for God as He is made known in His Son. This eternally increasing, Spirit-wrought alignment of the heart and mind to the beauty of God in Christ is the holiness of the individual and the unity of the whole.

The long explanation (take from this morning's journal entry):

The Spirit is the principle of union within the Church. Because we were all made to drink from one Spirit, we are all in Christ as one body. Now, the body imagery caught my attention this morning because of this question: What is it that makes the body a unity? What makes someone look at this collection of colors and textures and shapes, of fingers, eyes, toes, bones, veins, muscles, etc.....what makes someone look at this and consider it all one?

I think the answer must be found in the harmony of the parts, or--as Edwards would say--the consent of the various parts to one another.

The many and diverse members of the body are considered one because there is such a high degree of harmonious consent between them all, they agree with one another, not only in form, but in function (this harmonious agreement of the members as the principle of unity is hinted at in 1 Cor. 12:18,24 where Paul mentions the Lord's having arranged and composed the members of the body as He saw fit).

The unity of the body, then, is due to the mutual consent and harmonious agreement of the diverse members. What is glorious about this is that, according to Jonathan Edwards, consent in the observable world is only a shadow or reflection or image of a deeper reality which is consent in the spiritual world, and consent in the spiritual world is simply another way of saying "love." We might then say that a body (or a tree, or a landscape or a car) is a unity because the various members, as it were, "love" one another:

"When one thing sweetly harmonizes with another, as the notes in music, the notes are so conformed and have such proportion one to another that they seem to have respect one to another, as if they loved one another. So the beauty of figures and motions is, when one part has such consonant proportion with the rest as represents a general agreeing and consenting together; which is very much the image of love..."
- Edwards, Essay on the Mind
So, the unity of diverse members of a body is their consent aka, their beauty, aka, their "love" for one another. This, of course, wonderfully agrees with Paul's entire emphasis in 1 Corinthians as a whole and this section more specifically. The Spirit of God is the Love of God for God poured into His people (Romans 5:5) who unites them all into one by the bonds of harmonious consent To the Name of God revealed in the Son (John 17:11,26).

As Christians, our consent is not just--or primarily--to one another, but to God in Christ, and to one another because--in the Spirit--we are all in Christ such that our consent to Christ must also be consent to one another (1 John 4:7-8). The Spirit unites the various members of the people of God into one because He is the living harmony, the living consent, the living beauty, the living mutual love of the people of God, one for another because of their mutual love for the God in His Son.

One awesome implication here is that the Spirit functions in the Church just as He has eternally functioned within the Trinity. Going back to Edwards:

"[God] exerts Himself towards Himself no other way than in infinitely loving and delighting in Himself, in the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This makes the third, the personal Holy Spirit or the holiness of God, which is His infinite beauty, and this is God's infinite consent to being in general."
- Edwards, Essay on the Mind
According to Edwards, the Holy Spirit is the infinite and personal mutual love of the Father and the Son. He is the consent, the harmony, the agreement, the beauty who eternally unites the First and Second persons of the Trinity, and He unites them in the infinite and eternal bond of love. How glorious, then, that this is exactly what it seems the Spirit does in the Church? As He has always been the bond of mutual love between Father and Son, so now He has become the bond of mutual love (the harmony, the consent, the beauty) within the Church.

As the Trinity is one through the eternal and infinite love of Father for Son in the Spirit, so too the Church is one through this same love of God for God now dwelling within them as the personal Holy Spirit. The consent, then, of the various members of the Church to the Son by the Spirit is primary, and must necessarily give rise to consent of the various members of the Church to one another (1 John 4:19-21).

Thursday, May 25, 2017

4000 posts!

Dear Reader,

As of yesterday I have published 4000 essays at the End Time. My goal has been to share thoughts on the three general topics of prophecy, discernment, and encouragement. Of late I added Poetry and Visual Exegesis. I've published daily (with only 3 exceptions) since January 2009. It's a privilege to study God's word and then write about it. It's even more of a privilege to have a sister in the faith click on the links to credible ministries that I offer, and become edified as a result.

This is one of my goals - to point to solid ministries led by men so sisters can find good commentaries, sermons, and other material.

Another goal I've had is to provide explanations about prophecy that aren't wacky. It's discouraging when I google prophecy ministries and the search results yield such a plethora of date setting, conspiracy theorist, downright insane websites. Prophecy is important, edifying, and interpretable. I hoped to add to the internet archive of reasonable and thoughtful essays exploring this most delightful and thrilling topic, in a way that honors God and teaches the sisters.

Another goal has been to present discerning essays exploring troubling teachings and the teachers that bring them, without snark or mocking. I hope I've succeeded in this, but sometimes I know I haven't. Please forgive me.

I also seek to encourage. Just speaking of Jesus and His wonderful attributes is a privilege and doing so lifts me up. I hope it does you as well.

4000 essays is quite an accomplishment, and I thank the Holy Spirit for giving me the mental capacity, the physical energy, and the spiritual insight to persevere in this ministry. I've enjoyed it, and I plan to continue, Lord willing. Thank you for reading The End Time. Tune in tomorrow for another essay, #4,002, as we persevere and do not become weary in doing good.





Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A short encouragement about the rapture (with no dates)

Phil Johnson, GraceLife Pulpit pastor and Executive Editor of Grace To You, also the editor of John MacArthur books, tweeted this:


Accepting the challenge, I searched it. Ahem. These were a few of the results-


It's the same on Google when you do a regular search.

We don't read the news and match to the Bible, but instead we read the Bible and then understand how our sinful actions in today's news repeat the same old sinful behaviors of the past. We know that judgment of those actions came then and will come again. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Shall we pray to our patient but wrathfully righteous God? May we pray for our nation to call out to Him in abject apology for thrusting Him aside and instituting false gods? We are a nation in dire need of repentance. Otherwise, we know the rest of the story...and there are still so many to be saved.

Read the Bible, be a Berean! We need truth more than ever in these falling away, lying times. Meanwhile, enjoy His provision, whatever it may be. Today it's the rain, tomorrow maybe the longed-for job? A dinner invitation? A powerful sermon? God will provide what we need when we need it. Our Father will feed us, even as He does the birds, and are we not more valuable than they? :) (Matthew 6:26).

I think about the rapture every day. I know that evil men wax worse, and that each succeeding generation gets more sinful. I know that we are closer to the rapture today than we were yesterday. I can't wait for the rapture to happen, but please don't set dates. Just be ready to explain to anyone who asks about the hope we have within us. (1 Peter 3:15)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

If Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and Paul were Arminian...

Today's essay explores the notion that if Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and Paul had been Arminians, how would their testimonies sound? Using today's vernacular, let's see how it reads when these eminent Christians say they "chose God" of their own free will.

--------------------------------------------

Photo from Pixabay.com

The Sovereign call of Jeremiah to speak YHWH's words becomes:
Jeremiah asking Jesus into His heart and making a career decision,

"When I was a youth, one night I couldn't sleep. I walked around for a while outside, unfamiliar with this restless feeling. I felt young and inept at whatever I tried my hand. I remember clearly, it was the third of Tishrei, a cool September morning. I was at Sabbath at the synagogue. I was overcome with Avital's lyre playing of the ninth repetition of "Just As I Am." It all came together in my heart. I made a decision to walk the aisle toward the rabbi, and I knelt down and sincerely asked Messiah into my heart. Rabbi told me I was saved. Afer that, I decided I wanted to be a Prophet of God because I knew that God had a great plan for my life. When I came forward the priest had told me that. I became a prophet even though I was young and didn't know how to speak. It was a God thing for sure. I'm so happy that day I walked the aisle and decided for the Savior."

The powerful testimony of Christian Terrorist Paul on the road to Damascus becomes:
Paul meekly being led in praying the Sinner's Prayer and choosing to change his whole life around-

Paul explained, "I was exceeding my peers in Law, at that time I was breathing out threats and fire against the Christians. I was at the peak of my career. I had the esteem of my colleagues, and I was young enough to have the world in front of me. Yet something lacked. Then one day while I was walking along the road to Damascus on an official Pharisaical mission to jail and execute followers of The Way, I felt a restlessness. Is this all there is, I wondered? Just being the best at everything and killing blasphemers, nice as that was? I spoke about it with the men who were walking with me, but most of them didn't understand, except for one fellow traveler. He explained that I needed to decide to follow Jesus and that I should use my free will to choose Him. Of course! That was the answer. He led me in the sinner's prayer. I've been saved ever since. You should decide for Jesus too, everyone should. I don't know why they don't. That I did is what makes me a great example of Christian self-decisional regeneration. Not to boast, though. Grace and peace to you."

John the Baptist's call as the last Old Testament Prophet, foreordained and empowered since the womb, becomes a lifestyle choice-
John the Baptist shares his testimony about accepting Jesus

"I didn't get along with my parents, they were very aged and they just didn't understand me or my generation. I felt so lonely, like I didn't fit in with any of my friends. I went to live in the desert to try and find myself, and figure it all out. One day as I was roasting some locusts over the fire and sewing a new camel hair outfit, I realized suddenly that what I needed was Messiah. What I lacked was that I hadn't accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior! I decided to give my heart to Jesus. I also decided to stay in the desert. It's a relationship, not a religion, so who needs church? I have peace about that."

Don't those Arminian testimonies sound ridiculous? We do not decide for Jesus. He decided long before the world was ever made or we were ever born. Now here is how it really happened, with the addition of the verses about God's call to Jesus to become His Son.

The Call of Jeremiah-

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations
."
(Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Paul-

But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,
(Galatians 1:15-16)

John the Baptist-

for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He shall never take wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. (Luke 1:15).

Jesus-

I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you". (Psalm 2:7)

And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), (Isaiah 49:5).

I am not familiar with this author but I thought his explanation of the biblical truth of God's sovereign choice of His elect was the clearest and most succinct I've read in a while.

Why is one’s understanding of election important? 
Why is it important to understand that election is unconditional and individual? If we believe, as Arminians propose, that election is the result of God looking ahead via His omniscient foreknowledge to see who will choose Him and persevere in Him, we make God’s choice of particular people contingent upon their choice/faith in Him. This makes election a reward or an obligation that is given in response to foreseen faith. This is not the gospel of grace. Election in this view is not God independently choosing us; rather, we are choosing Him and He is merely ratifying the choice by calling "elect" those who have chosen Him. Again, this makes man, not God, sovereign in election, and dishonors God by diminishing His sovereignty. 
Such a view also leaves a pocket for pride in the human heart. Since the choice to believe is supposedly made by the sinner independently, the one who chooses to believe and respond positively to the gospel offer has proven himself more "worthy" of salvation, with all its attendant blessings, than the one who rejects the gospel. Of course, such an exalted view of man is unjustified by Scripture.  

We do not choose Jesus. If we did, we could - and would - boast. No, He chooses us. All the glory rightly belongs to Him.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Why does America love death so much?

Do you ever wonder why American society is fascinated with death? From movies to entertainments to conversation to society in general, it's a culture of death.

I'm old enough to remember life, culture, and entertainment before our national fascination with death. In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Movie posters used brighter colors. Blood and gore were normally absent. Discussion about death or dead people were done in reverent tones. It was a serious subject.

If a character on a highly rated television show died, it was a cause for "a very special episode." When the 1983 television film "The Day After", a film depicting a nuclear war on American soil, was broadcast, warnings about the devastating emotional effect accompanied it, along with telephone numbers for people to call counselors.

Back then, people were sensitive to death. It wasn't sought out. It wasn't treated lightly. It certainly wasn't light entertainment.

By now, in 2017, it is.

One of the top rated TV shows (on Netflix) is 13 Reasons Why,a graphic depiction of a teenager's life which includes bullying, rape and then suicide. Many viewers and critics say that the show, while striving to present the issue of teen suicide in a mature light, actually glamorizes it. Death occurs in action movies and even cartoons as a standard event. Promotion posters are usually dark, using black and gray colors, with graphic sprays of blood and other disturbing images.

Why has the nation taken such a turn for the worse in its entertainment choices and daily images?

Here is the answer.

For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the LORD,
but he who fails to find me injures himself;
all who hate me love death.
(Proverbs 8:35-36)

Jim Osman of Kootenai Community Church (in Idaho) preached last week a sermon called, The House of Mourning, (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4). He made an observation I'd like to pass along to you.

I think we'd all agree as Pastor Osman stated that America is a Romans 1 nation, meaning that because we have rejected God, He has turned us over to our sins, nationally. He's abandoned us so to speak. John MacArthur talks about this kind of wrath as the "wrath of abandonment." You can read about the progression of national and individual rejection in Romans 1:18-32.

Becuase God is life, when we reject Him, we remain dead in our sins. The proverbs verse stated that very clearly. "All who hate Me love death." It can't be clearer that that.

Our national entrancement with death is a clear sign of our spiritual state. All who hate God love death. America loves death, from top to bottom, inside out.

There you have it.



Above collage is an excerpt from a larger piece called "Images of our human spirit before salvation," by EPrata.

Praise the Lamb, who is building His church

Crazy world! But the sane world is coming, and Jesus will rule and reign. So we study end time prophecy in order to obey the command of Him ...