Life is a test and all things in this life are just distractions!

It has become apparent to me that all things in this life are just distractions. Yes, I mean ALL things that do not involve reading, learning and loving the Word of God. There are of course good distractions and bad distractions. A good distraction is that which will eventually lead one to the pages of God’s Word, which in reality are the only words of life (Philippians 2:6, 1 John 1:1). One example of a good distraction is a godly wife who urges her husband to go and lose himself in the pages of the Word of God (1 Corinthians 7:33). Another example of a good distraction is a daily hour of passive commute time (e.g. on a train) which allows a prudent believer to routinely engage the weighty parts of God’s word. It is a distraction because it is a commute, but it is a good distraction (if re-purposed advantageously) because it forces one into a routine of Bible study which might not otherwise be as routine. There are also necessary distractions such as eating and sleeping. Nevertheless, these necessary distractions are still distractions as they do not lead us to the Word of God, though they enable us to continue that quest. Living a spiritually healthy life is all about managing the many distractions that are in one’s life. Do not get caught up in distractions.
God—understanding that we need significant amounts of undistracted alone time with Him in order to truly know Him and excel in this test that is life— prudently designated 1/7th of our time here on this earth as distraction-free. In His study guide for how to pass the test, He called this distraction-free time, the Sabbath. He promised that those who partook of worship and rest during this period would experience the blessings specifically associated with this time segment. However, most have seen this Sabbath as an affront to their own personal time and/or have decided to redesignate another unblessed and unhallowed time-segment as their Sabbath. They have also shunned the idea that the entire time-segment needs to be distraction-free and have hence encumbered their Sabbath with all sorts of distractions which are sure to limit the time spent in the word of God.
Surprisingly, many times our own family members can be the greatest distractions. Jesus in Matthew 10:25 says: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” A brother, a relative, or a friend can prove to be a bad influence and therefore a bad distraction. We pursue earthly distractions because we think that they will bring us happiness. But the Bible tells us that Christ has gone to prepare mansions in Heaven for those who believe in Him (John 14:1-3). The earthly success that we desire is merely a glimpse of the joy that believers will realize in Heaven. The Bible in Psalms 16:11 tells us that “in God’s presence is fullness of joy; [and] at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Therefore, if we do not seek to place ALL of our dreams, desires, and hopes in Christ then we have misunderstood our purpose here on earth and will surely encounter disappointment. This is why Paul in Colossians 3:2-3 says “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The success that we desire is “hid with Christ in God.” Though we may encounter success in this life, that is not the purpose of life. Each person whom God allows to live in this world must realize that they have entered a test, a final examination. This a profound test as it involves our future well-being. There are only two outcomes for this test: a future eternal life with Christ in a world which unlike our current one is not cursed (Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 8:20-22, Revelation 22:3) or dying the “Second Death” which the Bible tells us is experiencing eternal torment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8). Hence, the outcomes of this test called life involve the greatest incentive (i.e. the good news of the gospel) and the greatest disincentive (i.e. the failure to obey the gospel). No one knows when the test will end; for some people, the test ends a lot sooner than they hoped or expected and some sadly find out that they have not done what it takes to even get a passing grade. Therefore, we all need to be concerned with passing the test with flying colors. How do we pass the test with flying colors? By realizing that all things in this life that do not involve reading, learning and loving the Word of God are distractions. Once we understand this then we can manage the distractions in our life so that we will leave this life with a rich understanding of the true knowledge of God. Do not, therefore, allow the distractions in your life to steal your destiny. Many church-goers will end up in dying the Second Death because they thought it was more important to chase “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The Bible reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that in chasing these distractions, many have “erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” From the day we are born, we are told and taught to covet “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” and sadly most people will die in pursuit of these earthly treasures. Jesus urges us not to pursue these earthly treasures and warns us that “moth and rust will corrupt” them and that “thieves break through and steal” them. Christ’s advice is to instead “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matthew 6:20). So how do we lay up treasures in Heaven?

God knows that we all yearn for some measure of earthly happiness which I will hereafter refer to as “these things.” That is why He has provided us with a non-destructive way to arrive at “these things.” A way which doesn’t involve the pursuit of distractions. In Matthew 6:33, God says “seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all ‘these things’ shall be added unto you.” In Psalms 37:4, God says “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” In Psalms 145:19  we read “God will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”  In John 15:7 Christ says “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Therefore, anytime you (or anyone you care about) find yourself yearning for “these things” or wondering whether you will find some modicum of success in this life, just remember God’s advice: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, delight yourself in the LORD, fear Him, abide in Him, and allow His words to abide in you.
To many, this advice may sound counter-intuitive. After all, why would someone want to read a Bible if they can’t eat, buy clothes, or do not have anywhere to sleep? Yet, we must remember that all our help comes from God. I am weak having my own burdens. I need God’s grace every day just to survive. But my King is strong and He is still coming back soon! He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He supplies my needs in proportion to how relentlessly I pursue His Word.
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7 Unmistakable Modern-day Fulfillments of Bible Prophecy

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One of the most startling things that sets the Bible apart from any other book which has ever been written is the Bible’s ability to accurately predict history ahead of time. No other book—including the Muslim Qur’an, the Hindu VedasRamanyanaBhagavad Gita, Upanishads, the sayings of Buddha, the sayings of Confucius, the Book of Mormon, etc.—can boast of foretelling future events with unmistakable accuracy except the Bible . In fact, most of these texts contain no prophecies whatsoever. This is why apart from biblical Christianity, no other worldview including: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahá’í, Jainism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, etc. can account for what has happened in the past, what is currently going on in the world, nor what will unfold in the future. Fulfilled prophecy is therefore one formidable verification that the biblical worldview is the only one which can make sense of the world that we live in. Accordingly, the God of the Bible challenges the gods of all other worldviews to issue a prediction about the future so that the world may see who is really God (Isaiah 41:22-24, Isaiah 44:7-8). So far, all other worldviews have utterly failed. Continue reading

13 truths about speaking with tongues

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1. Tongues are (or were) real languages not gibberish.

2. Speaking with tongues (i.e. miraculously  speaking in a foreign language) was not meant to benefit believers, but to serve as a sign to persuade unbelievers.

3.The spiritual gift of tongues does not empower believers to speak an angelic language

4. The spiritual gift of tongues does not empower believers to speak a mysterious language.

5. “Praying in the spirit” or “praying in the Holy Ghost” is not a command to pray with tongues.

6. Paul criticizes, ridicules and discourages the practice of praying in tongues (without the gift of interpretation).

7. Speaking in tongues is useless unless there is an interpretation.

8. Not all believers are granted the gift of speaking with tongues.

9. God issues the command to be quiet in the church unless it is possible for the tongues to be understood (interpreted).

10. Since God is not the Author of confusion, speaking with tongues in church without providing a valid interpretation is not from God.

11. If tongues are spoken in the church, it should only be done by one person at a time, and then by no more than three persons in total. Therefore, a church collectively speaking in tongues is madness.

12. Women are not permitted to speak tongues in the church.

13. Tongues and other spiritual gifts will eventually cease.


1. Tongues are (or were) real languages not gibberish. See Acts 2:4-11 & 1 Corinthians 14:21-22

The words lâshôn [H3956] in the Hebrew and glōssa [G1100] in the Greek, literally refer to the tongue; a member of the body and the organ of speech located in the mouth. However, to lexicons of both the Old and New Testaments of the bible, this word tongue is figuratively used to refer to any “language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations.”¹ In fact, the English words gloss and glossary are both derived from their cognate glōssa. Therefore, when the bible employs the word tongue to refer to the spiritual gift granted by the Holy Spirit to believers, it is the gift of speaking a foreign language that is in scope.

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Is Sin Alive In Our Bodies?

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The Conventional View of Sin

I would venture to say that most bible-believing Christians know how to define sin. In fact, when asked, I suspect that most of them would rightly tell you that sin is the breaking of God’s commandments, or as 1 John 3:4 says, the transgression of God’s law. Sometimes the bible uses other words when referring to sin. These words include: trespass [ma‛al H4604], iniquity [‛âvôn H5771and transgression [pesha‛ H6588]. Though some theologians have argued that there are significant differences between these words , it is absolutely clear that they all refer to the same idea and are thus effectively synonymous. Accordingly, we see the truth of this claim demonstrated in the Scriptures. One example that comes to mind is Psalm 32:1-2 where we read:

…Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity

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Is Phil Vischer’s “What’s In The Bible? Volume 1” actually in the Bible?

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This is a review of the first installment of the 13-part series from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer which sets out to teach kids about the Bible. I purchased many of the “What’s In The Bible” (WITB) DVD’s based upon a recommendation from someone at our church and because someone from a men’s small group that I was involved with allowed me to preview two DVDs from the series. Having watched some of the Veggie Tales video’s and being generally pleased with their content, I decided that I would buy THE WITB series for the spiritual edification of my children. However, before doing so, I quickly found out that there were issues with some of the content that is included in the series’ first video. Although, I did eventually purchase 10 of the 13 videos in the series, I could not in good conscience purchase the first video after what I discovered. This post is only a review of content from the first video in the series: Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? Volume 1- In the Beginning

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Why should they listen to our God?

Person 1:

Please see [information] about the upcoming ‘Family Project’ – it is a film being produced by Focus on the Family to discuss God’s true design for marriage and family. I thought you would find it of interest.

Person 2:

Thanks. I hope this leads to Christians spending more time talking and working to make Christian families God pleasing and less time talking about gay families. Given that Christian families statistically are no better than secular families, why should they listen to our God?

James:

Just out of curiosity, which statistic are you referring to?

Person 2:

Divorce, but I’m sure if I did a little research there are more.

James:

Your rhetorical question suggest that they shouldn’t listen to our God if their Christian counterparts lives aren’t God-pleasing.
 
You asked: “Why should they listen to our God?”
 
Well for one, persons who’s excuse for not following Christ hinge upon the behavior of their Christian counterparts better be prepared to have that excuse ridiculed on the day of judgment. They should listen to our God because His Word, which is the basis for all proof, convicts the world of sin and promises judgment. They should listen to our God because He created them and His revealed Word offers them eternal life. They should listen to our God because in Him they live and move and have their being. Why should the unbeliever’s duty to believe rest upon the behavior of others?
 
The virtuous or God-pleasing behavior of Christian families will not convince the unsaved to suddenly become Christians. The Pharisees saw Christ who lived the most virtuous life of all but that didn’t convince them to become godly. In fact, if the “good” behavior of Christians led people to become believers, we should be concerned since other worldviews and faiths not only promote similar forms of morality,  but also have adherents that are equally capable of leading ostensibly good lives too. In other words, we would have some competition in that arena.
 
The goal of evangelism is not to convince the unsaved sinner that our actions or lives are virtuous (it may be helpful for the listener to conclude this but it is certainly not necessary). Unbelievers are not saved (or persuaded to be saved) by believing in our “good” lives, rather; they are saved by understanding and assenting to the biblical propositions that we profess and are found in the Word of God.
 
 

In eight consecutive verses, eight different times Jesus claims to be God

The bible informs us that one of the reasons why Jesus was killed was because of His claim to deity (Mark 14:61-64) and yet it is popular to hear some assert that Jesus never claimed to be God. In a recent bible study, I made the observation that within the John 5:1-24 excerpt, Jesus made five (initially I actually said three) claims to deity and I set out to discuss them but time did not allow for me to delve into each one with the depth that each deserved. However, upon writing this blog as a way to address the deity claims after the fact, I ended up documenting eight distinct claims to deity. In fact, if you carefully follow my reasoning below you may find that there are more than the eight listed.

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