Nuggets – The Whole Counsel of God

The Whole Counsel of God
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

Evangelical churches have preached the gospel message and have given attention to the return of Christ and our hope of heaven. Sometimes, it is good to step back and look at the “big picture”—the foundational perspective upon which the whole of Scripture is based.

Four foundational passages in the New Testament provide pillars for the whole counsel of God.

John 1:1-14—The Word (our Lord Jesus) was and is God; the Word made everything that was made; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men.

Romans 11:36—All things are of Him, through Him, and to Him.

Colossians 1:16-20—By Him all heavenly and earthly powers were made; by Him all things are saved from destruction; by Him all things will be reconciled.

2 Peter 3:1-13—He destroyed the first world because of evil; He will destroy this present universe by fire; He will create a new heavens and new earth.

We can lose the reality of the forest because we are looking too closely at each tree. Sometimes it is helpful to back away from the technical aspects of theology or denominational policy and review the “whole counsel”—the overall sovereign purpose of our Creator, Lord, and King.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10). HMM III

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Maranatha – When God just closes doors

When God closes a door and does not open another will we be satisfied with His will?

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If Not Us, Who

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The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Nehemiah 1
 Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down.”When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. – Nehemiah 1:1-4
You ask about an old friend – “How is so and so?” The answer is not good, in fact it is downright horrible. The friend is in a terrible situation, so bad that you can see no way out for them. M
Maybe it is grim news like we witnessed this past week,  many were killed, hundreds wounded, and the enormity of it is so overwhelming it leaves you numb.
Nehemiah found himself in that spot. The city that he loved was in ruins.  The people he loved were suffering extreme injustice and prejudice. Scripture tells us Nehemiah was overwhelmed with grief.
He wept for days.
And then he prayed.
Many of us can identify with Nehemiahs situation. We feel the extreme emotions that he felt over situations in our lives, the lives of others in our world. But too many times feeling the emotions is where we stop. We do not do the one thing that is needed most and that is to pray.
Nehemiah after days of fasting and weeping and praying called out to God.
His prayer was not a prayer of hopelessness or prayer to a God who might do something. No, Nehemiah’s prayer was addressed to the One who is Sovereign over all things. Nehemiah reminded God of His Covenant with his people, of His loyalty to those who love him and follow His commands.
After praying for wisdom and guidance and favor Nehemiah put feet to his prayer;

 Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

 So the king said to me, “Why are you sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but depression.” I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” – Nehemiah 2:2-3
Nehemiah asked the king for permission to return to Jerusalem to oversee the repairs that needed to be made. The King not only granted Nehemiah permission, he provided soldiers to protect them, materials for the work, and letters proclaiming his support of Nehemiah’s rebuilding efforts.
Almost three thousand years later Nehemiah provides an example of what is most needed in our time.

He mourned.

When we see or hear the bad news it is right and good to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn.

He fasted and prayed.

God gave him a plan and Nehemiah acted on it.

But we must not, cannot stop with mourning, and we cannot allow ourselves to become numb.

We pray to understand God’s will and then we act on what he tells us to do

A pastor I know responded when asked asked why he and his wife would decide to become foster parents when they were in their 60s.
His answer?

If not us who?

A very good question one to ask ourselves.
If we do not pray for those around us who are in desperate trouble, for a world that we see in chaos, who will? If we do not reach out to the defenseless, the broken, the oppressed, who will? If not us who? We pray to a God who not only can but will!

We pray as Nehemiah did. When we pray we need to remember we are not praying to a God who is detached, uninterested, who may or may not decide to help us..
Reminding God of his promises his faithfulness and his goodness.
We pray with confidence fully understanding that we are asking God who not only can, but will move in response to our prayers. Faithfully rewarding those who love him and trust Him to answer.
 We pray  to understand God’s will in our petitions, and we ask what He would have us do. And then we act on what He tells us.
Nehemiah’s response was to do what he could do and trust God for the rest.

So it must be with us.
Change begins with prayer
And if we as the people of God will not pray, will not act, will not care, who will?
If not me, who?
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The dominion of sin

Romans 6:14…For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace

  • The dominion of sin is sin’s control over the will of man. Dominion is how sin dominates a man body, soul, and spirit.
  • In the days of the Old Testament sin ruled over a man. Depravity got the best of man. Struggles were many. Defeat was the fruit.
  • Victory over sin in the body of Christ – NOW!

There is good news! The Gospel has ushered in a new and better life where sin no longer has dominion “over” man. Glory to God the Grace covenant has great benefits with Throneroom power that crushes sin’s dominion. It’s called redemption, regeneration, and Salvation of the human soul! It’s grace and righteousness that forgives and pardons man from sin’s dominion. Sin which is God’s enemy becomes the footstool of Christ. The power the Holy Spirit break’s the will of man where sin finds dominion. Under Grace the new ruler is Christ, the living Savior! A Savior whose power and rule is far above sin’s dominion. A Savior who supplies holiness that makes men overcomers. Greater is He! Greater is God’s Grace. Greater is the New Testament that allows us to have the fullness of God’s Blessing where the power of sin is crushed. Where the power of the Spirit is greater than the power of the flesh. Good news is here! A greater blessing under Grace. Sin is made the footstool of Christ. Amen!

Romans 6:14…For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace

Psalm 110:1…The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.


Maranatha – The King is coming

Each reminder brings us closer to that day when He comes. Let us be encouraged .

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Nuggets – Great Swelling Words

Great Swelling Words
“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” (Jude 1:16)

This picturesque phrase, “great swelling words,” is the King James Version translation of huperonkos, which literally means “super-massive,” with the implied noun “words” added because of the context.

The word is used only one other time in the New Testament, in the parallel passage in 2 Peter 2:18: “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.”

Both apostles, in context, are warning against false teachers who, after somehow obtaining positions of influence among the spiritually immature believers in the body, would then seek to lead them back into worldly ways of thinking and acting. Peter compares those who heed such words to washed sows going back to wallow in the mire (2 Peter 2:22).

Such teachers may appear very intellectual and charismatic, with their “feigned words” (2 Peter 2:3), promises of “liberty” (1 Peter 2:16), and flatteries (see text above), but it is a deadly mistake to follow them. Both Peter and Jude give various ways by which to recognize them. They may actually deny the redemptive work of Christ (2 Peter 2:1) or seek to undermine those whom God has placed in authority (2:10). Perhaps most commonly, they are interested in worldly gain or prestige for themselves (2 Peter 2:14Jude 1:11). They also may practice and encourage carnal lifestyles (Jude 1:4).

Other characteristics of these deceptive teachers are given in these two key chapters and, by all means, young believers need to be alert to this danger, staying close to God’s Word and obedient to His will. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Maranatha – The longer I serve Him

As the day of His coming approaches, despite hard times, we praise God that  we can sing – “The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows”

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Nuggets – The Offended Brother

The Offended Brother
“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)

Here is a sound biblical principle (not the only one, of course) given to Christians to help them evaluate whether or not to engage in certain practices that are neither explicitly endorsed nor prohibited in Scripture. The question is not whether the practice will hurt the strong Christian who engages in it but whether his example might offend, or mislead, or discourage a weaker brother.

This matter of giving offense is quite serious in God’s sight. “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

 The Offended Brother

The problem of eating meat purchased from temple markets, after it had been offered in sacrifice to idols, is not an issue for many Christians today, but it was a very real problem to new believers in the first century. The principle given by Paul for deciding that issue is still valid for other issues of today (type of clothing, recreational games, smoking, etc.). As Paul expressed it, “Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. . . . when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Corinthians 8:9, 12-13).

On the other side of the coin, the strong Christian should be careful not to take personal offense himself at something done by a fellow believer. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). The rule for a mature, sincere, concerned Christian is to seek diligently neither to give offense nor take offense on any personal issue, by God’s grace. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Maranatha – Giving it all away

Francis Chan shares on ” Giving it all away”.

Am I giving to the poor in accordance with God’s Word?

How am I going to face the Lord if I don’t?

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Nuggets – The Cleansing Blood

The Cleansing Blood
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

There is a common cultic heresy to the effect that the blood of Christ has no cleansing efficacy of itself, even though this contradicts the plain statement of our text. John wrote the above words long after Christ’s blood had all been spilled on the cross, but it was still miraculously cleansing sinners in His day, and is in ours as well.

It is true that Christ’s blood supported His physical life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). But His blood was not like the blood of other men, for it was “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), uncontaminated either by genetic defects due to accumulated generations of mutations (as in all other men and women) or inherent sin.

When His blood was shed, it did not simply disappear into the ground and decay into dust, any more than did His body in the tomb, for it had been an integral part of His perfect human body that was to be raised and glorified. As our great High Priest, He somehow took the atoning blood into the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle. Into the earthly tabernacle “went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. . . . by his own blood he [Christ] entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:7, 12).

There in heaven, at the mercy seat, just as the ancient high priest “sprinkled with blood” both the book and the people, the tabernacle and its vessels, so have we been cleansed in God’s sight by His own “blood of sprinkling” (Hebrews 9:19-21; 12:24; see also 1 Peter 1:2). Thus, His blood can (literally) “keep on cleansing us from all sin.” HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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