The Fallacy of Full-Time Christian Work. TGIF; Today God Is First. Volume 1 by: Os Hillman

The Fallacy of Full-Time Christian Work
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, March 19 2016
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

“I didn’t know you were in full-time Christian work,” said my close friend as we were driving. “I didn’t realize that,” she went on. I responded, “Every person who has followed the will of God in their life is in full-time Christian work.” God calls some to the mission field, others to be accountants, and others to be advertising executives, and still others to be construction workers. God never made a distinction between sacred and secular. In fact, the Hebrew word avodah is the root word having the same meaning of “work” and “worship.” God sees our work as worship.

We have incorrectly elevated the role of the Christian worker to be more holy and committed than the person who is serving in a more secular environment. Yet the call to the secular workplace is as important as any other calling. God has to have His people in every sphere of life. Otherwise, many would never come to know Him because they would be separated from society.

I learned this lesson personally when I sought to go into “full-time” service as a pastor in my late twenties, only to have God thrust me back into the business world unwillingly. This turned out to be the best thing He could have done for me, because it was never His will for me to be a pastor. He knew I was more suited for the workplace.

We are all in missions. Some are called to foreign lands. Some are called to the jungles of the workplace. Wherever you are called, serve the Lord in that place. Let Him demonstrate His power through your life so that others might experience Him through you today and see your vocation as worship.

In Praise of the Quiet Time. By: Megan Hill / Christian Living

In Praise of the Quiet Time
By: Megan Hill

Why have a quiet time?

Recently I read “Why I Don’t Pray or Study the Bible (Much),” a Patheos blog post by Ellen Painter Dollar. She recounts how her time in an evangelical college fellowship was her first exposure to the discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer. “As a friend explained in a talk,” Dollar writes, “if you want to have a good relationship with somebody, you spend time with that person. Likewise, if you want to have a relationship with God, you must spend time with God, and ‘quiet time’ is how you do that.”

Dollar pushes back against this idea of building a relationship with God through dedicated personal prayer and Bible reading. “I think my college friend was right, that we draw closer to God by being deliberate about our relationship with God. But I’m not so sure that 30 or 60 minutes of prayer and Bible study is the only or primary way to do that,” she writes. She then explains how, in human relationships, closeness is built through shared (and often ordinary) life experiences, and defends her own practice of simply experiencing fellowship with God throughout her day in the normal situations of her life.

Some of Dollar’s skepticism about prayer and Scripture-study comes from her underlying assumptions about the nature of both. I believe the Bible is complete truth, God’s perfect revelation of himself, and essential for a Christian’s life and godliness. Likewise, I have a high view of prayer as one of God’s primary means for communion with his children, for glorifying himself, and for accomplishing his purposes.

Dollar would probably acknowledge theological disagreements with me on these points. But I think even among theologically conservative Christians, the priority of regular personal worship is not well understood. A recent national survey found that while 56 percent of Americans believe the Bible to be “the actual or inspired word of God,” only 37 percent read it at least once a week. And deliberate daily times of individual Bible study and prayer (what the Westminster Confession calls “worship . . . in secret” and what Dollar calls “quiet time” and what I grew up calling “devotions”) are sometimes viewed skeptically as legalistic or as a potential idol by even Reformed brothers and sisters.

While affirming the whole of life as worship, and also proclaiming the primacy of corporate worship, we sometimes neglect to press ourselves and others to daily private worship.

Dollar’s narrative reveals how a common evangelical argument (“If you love Someone you want to spend time with him”) can be inadequate. And I’ve taken her words as an opportunity to consider a better explanation that I can give to others—and preach to myself.

So why should we study the Bible and pray as a dedicated, daily event?

(1) God commands it.

No, the Bible doesn’t contain chapter-and-verse Thou Shalt Have 45 Minutes of Devotions Every Day. But the Bible is filled with direct imperatives to pray and compelling incentives to meditate on Scripture.

We are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), to overcome anxiety with prayer (Phil. 4:6), to intercede for other Christians (Eph. 6:18), and to receive encouragement from the One who prays for us (Heb. 7:25). About the Scriptures, God tells us they are sweet, valuable, and necessary for wisdom (Psalm 19); they are the right subject of our meditation (Psalm 119); they contain every truth a Christian needs (2 Tim. 3:16-17); and they are a powerful Spiritual tool (Heb. 4:12). We dedicate ourselves to praying and studying the Bible because in those activities we obey the Lord and benefit our own souls.

Much of this benefit, of course, comes to Christians through our most important spiritual discipline: the worship of God by his gathered people on the Lord’s Day. (I would agree with Dollar that personal devotions are not the “only or primary” way to draw near to God; the Westminster Confession upholds public worship as more solemn and obligatory than secret worship.) But a Scripture-and-prayer-shaped life will also necessarily include specific quiet times.

(2) We are weak.

These days, my children are learning catechism about the three offices of Christ (prophet, priest, and king). One of the questions asks, “Why do you need Christ as your prophet?” The answer applies as much to 35-year-olds as to 5-year-olds: “Because I am ignorant by nature.” We have no native wisdom about God on which we can rely.

As Jen Wilkin writes in her new book, Women of the Word, “How can we conform to the image of a God we have not beheld?” I would love to go through my days, witnessing the hand of God in every moment of the mundane, praising him for every blessing from his throne. But the truth is I am ignorant. I don’t even know what to look for, how to trace the providential kindness of my Father on my calendar, or where to expect his frown or his smile. Though God is certainly present in my to-do lists and my interactions with my children, he is best revealed through his chosen means: the Bible. And unless I have hidden his Word in my heart, unless I have meditated on Christ my prophet—he who is the Word incarnate—I will go through the hours always seeing but never understanding.

I would also love to spend my days in communion with my listening Father, making every breath an exhaled prayer. But, again, I am weak. If I do not dedicate myself to times of prayer (and I cringe to think how often I do not) I forget that I depend on spiritual realities in the midst of temporal realities. As the hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I pray and read my Bible because without it my heart, soul, mind, and strength will always immerse in the visible and forget entirely the One who is invisible.

(3) Jesus did it.

This example is where we best see the truth in the relationship argument for personal devotions. In his excellent book Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves writes, “The Christian life is one of being brought to share the delight the Father, Son, and Spirit have for each other.”

Jesus has a perfect love for the Father and the Spirit and perfect union with them. If anyone could have practiced a relationship with the Father while simply acknowledging him throughout the day, it would be Jesus. But how did he, the God-man, outwardly demonstrate his love for the persons of the Godhead and his desire for Trinitarian relationship while living on the earth?

He prayed, and he read the Bible.

Jesus’ withdrawal from the crowd for private prayer is explicit throughout the Gospels (Matthew 26:36, Mark 1:35, Luke 9:18). And it is evident from Jesus’ preaching and teaching (Luke 4:16-27) that he was knowledgeable in the whole Scriptures in a way that could only have come from dedicated study.

If Jesus expressed and experienced his relationship with the Father through a “quiet time,” if the One who was, in fact, eternally one with the Godhead still took intentional time for personal prayer and Bible study, we would do well to follow his pattern. Because, yes, if you love Someone, you do want to spend time with him.

Megan Hill lives in Mississippi. She is a member of Pinehaven Presbyterian Church (PCA) and writes about ministry life at Sunday Women.

Copyright © 2014 The Gospel Coalition, Inc. All rights reserved.

Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation? By: R. C. Sproul 18 July, 2014

Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?
FROM R.C. Sproul Jul 18, 2014 

We may live in a culture that believes everyone will be saved, that we are “justified by death” and all you need to do to go to heaven is die, but God’s Word certainly doesn’t give us the luxury of believing that. Any quick and honest reading of the New Testament shows that the Apostles were convinced that nobody can go to heaven unless they believe in Christ alone for their salvation (John 14:6; Rom. 10:9–10).

Historically, evangelical Christians have largely agreed on this point. Where they have differed has been on the matter of the security of salvation. People who would otherwise agree that only those who trust in Jesus will be saved have disagreed on whether anyone who truly believes in Christ can lose his salvation.

Theologically speaking, what we are talking about here is the concept of apostasy. This term comes from a Greek word that means “to stand away from.” When we talk about those who have become apostate or have committed apostasy, we’re talking about those who have fallen from the faith or at least from the profession of faith in Christ that they once made.

Many believers have held that yes, true Christians can lose their salvation because there are several New Testament texts that seem to indicate that this can happen. I’m thinking, for example, of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 1:18–20:

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Here, in the midst of instructions and admonitions related to Timothy’s life and ministry, Paul warns Timothy to keep the faith and to keep a good conscience, and to be reminded of those who didn’t. The Apostle refers to those who made “shipwreck of their faith,” men whom he “handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” This second point is a reference to Paul’s excommunication of these men, and the whole passage combines a sober warning with concrete examples of those who fell away grievously from their Christian profession.

There is no question that professing believers can fall and fall radically. We think of men like Peter, for example, who denied Christ. But the fact that he was restored shows that not every professing believer who falls has fallen past the point of no return. At this point, we should distinguish a serious and radical fall from a total and final fall. Reformed theologians have noted that the Bible is full of examples of true believers who fall into gross sin and even protracted periods of impenitence. So, Christians do fall and they fall radically. What could be more serious than Peter’s public denial of Jesus Christ?

But the question is, are these people who are guilty of a real fall irretrievably fallen and eternally lost, or is this fall a temporary condition that will, in the final analysis, be remedied by their restoration? In the case of a person such as Peter, we see that his fall was remedied by his repentance. However, what about those who fall away finally? Were they ever truly believers in the first place?

Our answer to this question has to be no. First John 2:19 speaks of the false teachers who went out from the church as never having truly been part of the church. John describes the apostasy of people who had made a profession of faith but who never really were converted. Moreover, we know that God glorifies all whom He justifies (Rom. 8:29–30). If a person has true saving faith and is justified, God will preserve that person.

In the meantime, however, if the person who has fallen is still alive, how do we know if he is a full apostate? One thing none of us can do is read the heart of other people. When I see a person who has made a profession of faith and later repudiates it, I don’t know whether he is a truly regenerate person who’s in the midst of a serious, radical fall but who will at some point in the future certainly be restored; or whether he is a person who was never really converted, whose profession of faith was false from the start.

This question of whether a person can lose his salvation is not an abstract question. It touches us at the very core of our Christian lives, not only with regard to our concerns for our own perseverance, but also with regard to our concern for our family and friends, particularly those who seemed, for all outward appearances, to have made a genuine profession of faith. We thought their profession was credible, we embraced them as brothers or sisters, only to find out that they repudiated that faith.

What do you do, practically, in a situation like that? First, you pray, and then, you wait. We don’t know the final outcome of the situation, and I’m sure there are going to be surprises when we get to heaven. We’re going to be surprised to see people there who we didn’t think would be, and we’re going to be surprised that we don’t see people there who we were sure would be there, because we simply don’t know the internal status of a human heart or of a human soul. Only God can see that soul, change that soul, and preserve that soul.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

@copywrite: Tabletalk magazine

First Liquid Poured on the Moon and the First Food Eaten There Were Communion Elements

This wonderful celebration which took place on the surface of the Moon some forty-five years ago shows just how far the United States of America has drifted away from showing public Glory unto God.

First Liquid Poured on the Moon and the First Food Eaten There Were Communion Elements.

Job is a Book About Jesus: An Interview with Christopher Ash

Job is a Book About Jesus: An Interview with Christopher Ash
Christopher Ash page at The Proclamation Trust The Old Testament book of Job can be mysterious, exhausting, and frustrating. Yet, for millennia, readers have also drawn comfort and hope from the story of Job’s extreme suffering.

Bible Gateway interviewed Rev. Christopher Ash about his book, Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Crossway, 2014).

For those who are unfamiliar with it, briefly tell the story of Job.

Rev. Ash: The book of Job is one of the most astonishing books in the world.Buy your copy of Job: The Wisdom of the Cross in the Bible Gateway Store We don’t know when or by whom it was written. It tells a true and deep story, the story of Job, an upright and righteous man (Job 1:1,8; 2:3) who trusted God. He was a very great man (1:3). And yet quite suddenly he suffered the loss of all his wealth and possessions, all his children, and his health (1:6-2:10). After this catastrophe, Job has long debates with his three so-called “comforters” (chapters 4-26) about what is going on and why. Job then sums up his case (chapters 27-31). After that he hears two answers; the first is from a man called Elihu (chapters 32-37), the second (in two parts) from God himself (chapters 38-41). The book ends with Job’s final response to God (42:1-6), God’s verdict on the debates (42:7-9), and God’s final vindication and restoration of Job (42:10-17).

Why are you convinced that the book of Job “makes no sense apart from the cross of Christ”? And what is the “wisdom of the Cross” that your book’s subtitle speaks of?

Rev. Ash: If you believe in any kind of justice, this story would seem to contradict your beliefs. For in it a man who does not deserve to suffer finds himself suffering intensely and deeply. Read on its own it would seem to be, as someone has put it, “the record of an unanswered agony.” Job’s “comforters” can only make sense of it by supposing that Job is a secret and wicked sinner (e.g. 22:5). But we, the readers, know this is not true (1:1,8; 2:3; 42:7). In their world, good things only happen to good people and bad things only to bad people (e.g. 8:3,4). The Cross shows that at the heart of history there is undeserved suffering that makes possible undeserved blessing; that because a righteous man suffered, unrighteous people like us can experience mercy and grace. This is the wisdom of the Cross (1 Cor.1:18-2:5). Job foreshadows this great truth.

Briefly explain the three big questions you say Job raises.

Rev. Ash: A. What kind of world do we live in, and how is it governed? The most common answers are either that God runs it (full stop: what he says goes) or that it is chaotic, perhaps with a multitude of powers, gods/goddesses/spirits—call them what you will. The Bible’s answer is that God runs it entirely, but does so through the intermediate agency of a variety of supernatural powers, some of which are evil. This is a deep truth and one that Job explores, how God can govern the world making use in some strange way of evil to do it, without himself being tainted by evil.

B. What kind of Church should we want? The biggest dangers to church life worldwide are the “prosperity gospel” (if I follow Jesus, God will make me rich and healthy) and its close cousin the “therapeutic gospel” (if I follow Jesus and already have wealth and health, then Jesus will also make me feel good about myself). Job pulls the rug out from under both these distortions.

C. What kind of Savior do we need? Only the perfect obedience and suffering of Jesus Christ can bring grace to a needy world. Job opens up this truth perhaps above all.

Why is the book of Job so long? And why is most of it poetry?

Rev. Ash: Deeply to grapple with God in a messed-up world takes time. We cannot tidily sum up the message of Job on a postcard or in an SMS or Tweet. We need to let these truths soak into our souls and engage with us in our real human experience; there is no shortcut for that. Poetry touches us in our emotions, our feelings, our affections, our delights and aversions. We need to read it and hear it aloud to let God get to work on us through it. Beware the desires to summarize it, rush it, get through it quickly so we can get on to the next thing, boil it down to tidy propositions! You have not engaged with Job until, for example, you have been moved to tears by his lament in chapter 3.

What can we learn and model from Job’s perseverance?

Rev. Ash: Writing to suffering Christians, James encourages them and us to wait patiently for the return of the Lord Jesus; he says, “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job” (James 5:7,11). As we walk with Job through his trials, we watch as Jesus perseveres through his; and, by the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts, we are enabled the better to walk through our own troubles with patient faith.

Why do you say the book of Job is not fundamentally about suffering? Then what is it about? And how does it foreshadow Jesus?

Rev. Ash: Like every Bible book, Job is most deeply a book about God and specifically about Jesus Christ, the righteous man who suffers unjustly and is finally vindicated by his Father. It is a mistake to think the book speaks simply to human suffering as a universal experience; for the central character who suffers is very far from a typical or universal human being; he is conspicuously great, exceptionally upright, and definitively righteous. Job in his extremeness foreshadows Jesus in his uniqueness. It is therefore only about us if we are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus and enter into some share of the sufferings of Christ (e.g. Col.1:24). And yet it is about us as believers in Christ; for Satan still demands to sift disciples like wheat to prove our genuineness (compare Job 1:8-11; 2:4,5 with Lk.22:31) and in the end our genuine faith will redound to the glory of God (1 Peter 1:7).

What do you recommend as a good way for people to experience Job?

Rev. Ash: I have four suggestions. First, that preachers have a go at longer sermon series on Job, perhaps 10 sermons rather than the skimpy two or three that some offer! Second, that individual Christians read Job aloud to themselves. Aloud is important, so you cannot read too fast and you cannot skim. If you find the language too inaccessible, try a vivid paraphrase like The Message. Third, you could try reading gradually through Job aloud with a small group. Fourth, you could try reading slowly through Job using my book as a friendly guide!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Rev. Ash: It may seem strange to say that I love the book of Job, given that it is so dark and intense. And yet I do. I find that immersing myself in it helps me appreciate more deeply the love of my Savior, the misery of being a sinner in a world under God’s curse, and the wonder of the Christian hope. I hope you will find the same.

Bio: Christopher Ash works for the Proclamation Trust in London as director of the Cornhill Training Course. In addition to serving on the council of Tyndale House in Cambridge, he’s the author of several books, including Out of the Storm: Grappling with God in the Book of Job and Teaching Romans. He’s married to Carolyn; they have three sons and one daughter.

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copywrite; Biblegateway.com 24 July, 2014

Never Again Shall God Request A Burnt Offering Of His People.

 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. 

Hebrews 10:1-39   KJV

My commentary
Many faiths or “religions” still practice only the laws of the Old Testament (sometimes referred to as “The Old Law”, “The Original Law”, or “The Law of Moses”), but here in Hebrews 10 the unknown author, but attributed as Paul;  makes Gods will very clear unto His people.  The Lord says; “It is to be cast away” and that anyone who doesn’t He will invoke judgment upon them, for by the blood of the lamb (Christs cusifiction) we are no longer to offer up offerings of burnt animals, and by His offering up Christ body ONCE for ALL we obtain perfect remission.  We should seek repentance from the Lord for our sins, only once for that sin, for the Father forgets that sin forever!  And that we being born again children of the Lord, that the Holy Spirit which dwelleth inside us forever shall direct us not to make this sin again (Exhortation to faithfulness).
In Christ,

Adam T. Smith

Discovering God’s Design – Blood in the Nile

Blood in the Nile ================= Exodus 7:14–24 The plague of blood is a powerful testimony to the truth of God’s ownership and management of all creation. The Nile River is Egypt’s greatest natural resource, serving as the source of the land’s natural fertility and prosperity throughout history. By changing the waters of Egypt into blood, […]