Growth in Stages.

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.

I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.

I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. 1John 2:12-14 NKJV.

spiritual_growth as atree

Growth in Stages.

I have had an itch for some time about our stages of spiritual growth as Christians. Today begins the scratching of that itch.

When a baby is born, biologically he has everything he needs for adulthood. He just has to grow into it. The same is true with our spiritual progress. Godly growth is a providential journey of becoming what we already are.

The above verses do not refer to ages as much as to stages of a godly development. As infants, or “little children,” we are excited about the newness of a relationship with Jesus. But as we feed on the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2), we see that there is more to salvation than the forgiveness of our sins.

We grow beyond our infancy into young adult lives of challenge and victory as people who live daily by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Finally, “fatherhood” is that designation given to saints who have come to know God as a friend.

Fathers know the joy and peace of intimacy with the Lord and endeavor to begin producing spiritual offspring through the loving process of discipleship (Matt. 28:19,20). It is important to ask ourselves if we are progressing to new levels of spiritual growth.

Tommorow: Growth in Sanctification.

How apostates take over.

How the apostates take over

The evangelical church is under constant threat to compromise its reliance on biblical truth. The human desire to be accepted, to not be seen as “outside the mainstream,” can be overwhelming. But that desire is our weakness, our downfall. It does not always immediately destroy the dam we build to protect the waters of truth, but instead it leads to tiny fissures that grow until destruction is inevitable.
Twenty years ago, I experienced the painful demise of the Episcopal Church, which once was a bastion of biblical truth. It was not a pretty picture. It was a picture painted in the primary colors of relentlessness and deception.
The combination of those elements inevitably led some sincere folks to weariness, and willingness to compromise, and yes, ultimately to surrender. For those who sought peace at any price, conformity over conviction, and popularity over principle, capitulation seemed the easier way out.
The initial compromise, which caused the first cracks in the dike, seemed innocent enough at the time: the ordination of women.
But to truly understand how that initial compromise caused a wave of liberalism to overcome biblical boundaries within the Episcopal Church (and soon by the rest of the mainline denominations), we have to understand the different groups involved.
Sincere followers of Christ made up the first group. They believed in Jesus and the scriptures. To them, the effort to ordain women seemed genuine. But they ultimately bought into the secular argument that the ordination of women was merely an issue of equality, sharing power, responding to new realities, and gaining relevancy with modern culture. Those believers were most troublesome of all. Although they adhered to the secular perspective, no one could accuse them of having “departed the faith once delivered.”
The second group, which pushed the breached even further, was comprised of people who were religious but biblically illiterate. They followed a simple faith not rooted in history. They were more willing to follow than to think.
The third group was made up of committed liberals, or as I prefer to call them, apostates. That group often worked behind the scenes. They hid in the shadows, preferring to steer the second group forward while putting pressure on the first group. They fueled the secular media with proclamations that the church was “hopelessly out of touch with the real world” or that the “male-dominated church is unwilling to share power with women.”
The media — which loves to denigrate the church and its leadership for refusing to adhere to a godless culture — used its powerful megaphone to condemn the church. Of course, the media never understood that ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ is not about power. A pastor models himself after Jesus, who “did not come to be served, but to serve.”

When apostate Christians and agnostics were allowed to set the agenda and define the arguments, the faint of heart self-consciously sought to surrender. Quickly abandoned were Martin Luther’s words: “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
” I explained how apostates used the cause of equality to gain a destructive foothold within the church.
Some of my readers have missed the point of this two-part column altogether, thinking it is about women’s ordination. People will see what they want to see. The deeper point is that those who deny the core of the Gospel used an innocent issue, such the role of women in the church, to flood the church with non Bible-believing men, women, and homosexuals.
This is how it happened:
Initially, whole denominations acquiesced and allowed women to be ordained, but most churches still did not call women to be pastors. But with an influx of women into the system, something had to be done. So while the men worked by pastoring to parishes and parishioners, many women aimed at taking over denominational committees. Time and persistence had a way of succeeding.
By the early 90s, women made up only 20 percent of the clergy in some denominations, but they controlled every single committee.
With control of the ministerial candidate selection committees, for example, they focused on expanding the number of women clergy, not expanding the Kingdom of God. Time after time, I saw good young men turned down for ordination while spiritually unqualified women were given the green light.
I once asked why so many good men were being rejected. I was told that it was necessary to “make up for past injustices.”
But once the dam had been cracked, the people who flooded in were no longer those who argued for justice and equality. They were people whose hidden agenda was nothing short of apostasy and control.
From that point, committee leaders began to push for extreme feminism, abortion rights, homosexual advocacy, and other issues that were repugnant to biblical obedience.
All of that inevitably sapped the energy of the faithful. They no longer had the time or strength to preach the Word of God and witness to others. Although they still called themselves “the church,” they had strayed from the fold.
Today, the flood waters continue to rise and are even encroaching into some evangelical churches. But thank God for those who still stand strong, for they represent the last great hope for biblical submission. We need the evangelical church to refuse to put on the garment of compromise, to not bow to the gods of social acceptability and popular culture. We need it to never surrender to the secular armies and their weapons of manipulation and false accusation.
Back in 1980, I met with the retired Episcopal bishop of Atlanta, who had been bishop during those tumultuous times. It was soon before his death, and he told me, “If I had known all this would happen, I would not have been quick to give in.” He went to his grave in regret.
The apostates are like the ancient Greeks who destroyed the city of Troy by offering them an apparently innocent gift — the Trojan horse. The people of Troy willingly took the deceptive symbol of peace and moved it within their walls. Later, under cover of night, Greek soldiers crept out of the giant horse, opened the city gates, and ushered in the enemy army.
As with Troy, apostates today take over the church through means that seem innocent at first. For that reason, Bible-believing Christians must stand at the watchtower and be prepared to defend biblical truth, even when the threat seems harmless. If not, many more Christian leaders will go to their graves with deep, deep regret.

Getting up to speed on the Quran.

Saturday Satire

Living here in Indonesia, it is considered impolite not to keep up on ones knowledge of the Quran. In my wanderings as a good Bedouin merchant hitting the all the lucrative silk hot spots one must take time out to listen to the latest comments on the most blessed book. Mr. David Woods brings us up to speed in fine fashion. I eagerly await your comments.

Top Ten Quran Verses for Understanding ISIS (the Islamic State) Jihadists fighting for ISIS (the Islamic State of  Iraq and Syria) claim that they are following the commands of Allah and Muhammad. Yet Westernized Muslims, politicians, and the media claim that ISIS is violating the principles of Islam. Who’s right? In the following video, David Wood presents the top ten Quran verses for understanding the beliefs and actions of ISIS.

http://www.answeringmuslims.com

Taste and see.

As a child I remember standing up in my bed and screaming out loud, “I don’t want to die!” For many years including 11 months in Vietnam I was conscience of the fear of death. At times I would have to do something to take my mind off the fear of dying, until I came to know my Lord as savior.

The fear of death left me completely. I knew if I died where I would go. Today’s post is on the New Testament word Taste. lords_supper

Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered,  “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. “And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.”

Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘if anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’  John 8:48-52 NKJV.

Taste, geuomai; Strong’s # 1089: To eat, partake of, feel, experience. Geuomai is used both naturally and metaphorically, especially to describe the personal experience of death, whether Christ’s (Heb. 2:9) or the believer’s (Matt.16:28; John 8:52).

Another example would be to have or receive a sensation or impression of anything, practically and in fact to experience anything 1 Pet.2:3; Heb. 6:4,5).

For a born-again Christian we will never see spiritual death as Paul says, And it is appointed for men to die once, (physically) but after this the judgment…(Heb. 9:27).

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (2 Cor.5:8). As well as, so we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are we are absent from the Lord (2Cor. 5:6).

Christ is with us spiritually, but His physical absence means we do not perceive Him clearly or as fully as we will in the future (Phil.1:23; Col.3:3,4; 1 John. 3:2.).

In these two example from yesterday and today we can confidently say; Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

 

 

 

 

Jesus, are you acquainted with Him by experience?

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8 NKJV.

IMG_5759-1

Taste, ta’am –Strong’s #2938: to taste, eat; discern, perceive; to evaluate. This verb refers to the testing of good by means of sense of taste. From the primary sense of physical tasting, Ta’am developed into the idea of evaluative sampling of things other than food.

Ta’am as a noun came to refer to “discernment,” that is the capacity to choose and delight in good things. The book of Proverbs speaks of a woman who lacks “taste” (11:2), and a woman with good taste, who “perceives” (ta’am) that her merchandise is of high quality (31:18). This same metaphor of tasting is used in the NT by Peter in calling inquirers to examine the wonders of God (1 Pet. 2:3).

Discerning the time!

 

discerning time

“ And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”Romans 13:11-14.

Are you struggling in your Christian life to be committed in prayer, reading and meditating the word of God and also to do your part to serve Him in every means you could. Is it a struggle and starve situation, where there is no spiritual profit? Like  any other relationship Jesus wants us to savor the beauty of being with Him. He wants us to do it out of love and commitment to Him than being a Hipocritic to our own self.

We are a time bound generation. Everything we do or practice is designed by the time available for a task, time designs the depth of  our relationships, fellowship, recreation and also sets and limits our Christian walk. Today Holy spirit is calling you to come out of that spiritual sleep pattern that have  trapped you in for long. Many time our spirit is ready but our body is so fragile with the fallen nature of clay, that we are succumbed into temptations by  flesh.

The result is gratification of self and slumber of  inner man.  Many times Satan binds our spirit from the knowledge of time,  often we forget the crucial time we are living in, we live in our comfort zones unaware of our mission to be useful for the Kingdom of God. We need to put away the sleep, let’s come out of those cozy blankets that tempt us to take extra hours of snooze, it could be anything that blinds you from reaching the mountain God have set before you, detracting you from savoring the sweet fellowship with Christ.

Let’s examine our priorities in life, take some time to sit in the presence of God and analyze the time we neglect each day on our fanciful likings towards small things in life, the time we overspend with a loved one, the time we waste in for the luxuries of life.The holy spirit will reveal the corrections needed in your life.

In the above portion I was happy to read the verse “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”Salvation can become near to us only if we grow in our salvation. Each day we need to experience a growth , a better experience with God, a new lesson learned from Him, growing in the fruit of the spirit.Inability to grow in our faith life is spiritual death and slumber.

We can attain this growth only if we put on Christ in each day of our faith life. With out His image growing in us we will not be able to overcome the flesh.Dear child of God if you are in a struggle to improve your relationship with Christ, don’t take it by yourself. Pour your heart in the presence of the author of salvation,Jesus himself. He has plans for your life.

It’s hard to climb the mountain of God by our strength,but if you fully yield yourself to obey Him and clothe yourself with Christ, He will bless you with grace and transcend you into new levels in your faith life where you won’t be just practicing faith, but day by day you become perfected in faith. The  time, for the glory of God to be revealed to us is so near, lets be prepared and let the armor of light which is the character of Christ shine through us.Let the grace of God encompass us to fulfill another years journey without slumber.

Blessings,

Smitha Thomas.

 

 

 

Wisdom of God

In my quiet time in the Word reading from 1 Corinthians chapter one; I felt like Corinth is a mirror of our world today. God is stronger than men. isis

26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

A survey of the converts at Corinth proves the mutal rejection between human and divine wisdom. Much like what we see and experience today.

In Corinth only a few came from the world of culture and social sophistication. The heart of true wisdom is knowing the ways and will of God, and living in harmony with ultimate, created reality.

The human wisdom Paul opposes is not intellect or education, but a false independence of God and a bent toward self-sufficency. God rejects human wisdom because of its pride and self-glory.

In verse 30 we read “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ ”

Righteousness, a term taken from the courts, (there is a present Court of Heaven—soon coming post) is God’s judical determination to right every wrong, His gift to the guilty which removes all condemnation and puts them in a state of justification, including full acquittal from all charges against them.

Sanctification, is a symbol taken from the Temple, showing showing the need for cleansing from pollution. It includes a renewal by the power of the Holy Spirit, which allows acceptable living before God and points to our ultimate perfection in His presence.

Redemption,  taken from a background of slavery and debt, speaks of freedom and final deliverance from all aspects od sin, including the resurrection of the body.

We are being transformed by our being in Christ and receiving His redemption provided for us. The world knows nothing of these wonderfull gifts to all who will repent and recive His salvation. The world is caught up and held captive by the pride and lies of the evil one who rules this present world system and keeps people in bondage to hell.

I thank the Lord for His Grace to a sinner living in repentance.

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