Building Endurance for the Trials of Life – Written By Dr. Tony Evans; Proverbs 31 Ministries

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 (NIV)

I clearly remember watching TV when I was a young boy growing up in Baltimore. From time to time the normal programming would be interrupted by a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Then I would hear a loud, annoying noise for 30 or 60 seconds. I used to hate those tests because they always seemed to come at the worst time — just when you didn’t want the show to be interrupted. And since there was never any advance warning the test was coming, there was no way you could avoid it. The station just broke in and did its test. Continue reading

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Nuggets -Strong in Grace

Strong in Grace
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1)

In the Old Testament, “grace” (used 69 times) is often applied in the sense of personal favors or physical blessings. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). In the New Testament, however, the term (used 156 times) often seems to emphasize God’s personal empowerment or the granting of His unique spiritual favor, as is clear in the wonderful passage Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Once the saving grace has been given, the believer is expected to use that grace with victory in mind—confidence that empowers our spiritual life and witness. We are to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Hence, we are to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) as we wrestle against the powers of darkness that battle us unceasingly. Although “[we] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]” (Philippians 4:13), we must remember that those “things” include the entire spectrum of poverty to wealth and from hunger to satisfaction. God’s grace is strong enough to counter every worldly circumstance.

We must remember, however, that even the greatest heroes of the faith endured intense opposition, seasons of pain and privation, and occasionally were tortured to death (Hebrews 11:32-38). God’s strong grace is sufficient. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). HMM III

 From the Institute for Creation Research

 

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Pray for suffering North Korean Christians

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A Word About Weeds

Our garden is off to a good (though late) start this year, However, with the unusual amount of rain this spring, the weeds are doing their best to out-pace the vegetables. Most of our attempts to maintain our plot of land have been thwarted by the marshy garden soil that’s been more like a swamp than the sun-baked ground that typifies a normal Georgia summer. But the rains finally took a break and this past weekend, we were able to carefully step around the softer spots to get down the rows and do a little weeding. And you know, it didn’t take us nearly as long as I had expected. In fact, the super-saturated soft dirt made uprooting the unwanted plants amazingly easy!

While I was carefully removing morning glories, nut grass and a variety of other nuisances, I couldn’t help but see a parallel to following Jesus. That is … The softer the soil of your heart, the easier it is to identify and remove the weeds of sin that, left unchecked, have the potential to overtake and ruin the fruit that Jesus desires from your life.

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Nuggets – The Better Hope

The Better Hope
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Hebrews 7:19)

Men and women have many false hopes in this world, one of which is that they can earn heaven by good works. Even though God’s law is a perfect law, it can never make a person fit for heaven because no one can keep the law perfectly. There is a better hope, however, and that hope is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This “hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) is indeed a wonderful hope. In addition to the one in our text (“better”), there are three other adjectives in the New Testament relative to our Christian hope.

First, it is called a “good hope.” “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father . . . hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

Next, it is a “blessed hope.” “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).

Finally, it is a “lively [or living] hope.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

It is true, of course, that our hope is centered on the eternal future, for “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Nevertheless, the proved resurrection of Christ makes it a good hope, a blessed hope, and a living hope. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

 

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Freedom

prison

So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free….. Continue reading

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Nuggets – The Christian’s Lifestyle: Our Control

The Christian’s Lifestyle: Our Control
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)

Two factors need to be identified with this verse. First, the immediately preceding context confines the primary application to behavior, just as the immediately following context relates the “filled” behavior to the fellowship of believers. Secondly, the imagery stresses control of the behavior by the Holy Spirit (contrasting filled with drunken behavior).

The filling is not synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), since all are so baptized but not all are filled. Nor is it equal with or subsequent to speaking in tongues, since some specifically identified as being filled with the Holy Spirit (John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Jesus) never spoke in tongues. Some individuals (Paul, Peter, Stephen) were filled on different occasions. Apparently, the filling produces a temporary effect like alcohol does. The effect of the filling of the Holy Spirit enhances or encourages a God-like behavior in contrast to the Satan-like behavior stimulated by alcohol.

Some passages equate power with this filling (Acts 1:8Romans 15:13;1 Thessalonians 1:5), and others equate it to wisdom (Colossians 1:9-11Philippians 1:9Colossians 3:15– 17). The immediate context, however, lists four evidences of the Holy Spirit’s control (Ephesians 5:19-21): songs of praise together; personal singing and private melody to God in our hearts; thanksgiving; and voluntary submission to one another in the Lord. Since the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the saints (Ephesians 4:7-11) for the purpose of building the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16), it stands to basic reason that the Holy Spirit’s control is designed to enhance and stimulate the ministry of believers to each other and the personal joy and awareness of the goodness of God. HMM III

From the Insttitute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Unseen Angels

The Unseen Angels
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

God has created “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), and there are many references to them in both Old and New Testaments, but few living men or women have ever actually seen real heavenly angels—or, at least, recognized them as such. We may “have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2), for they can assume the appearance of men on occasion, but normally they are invisible to human eyes.

Nevertheless, they are there! Furthermore, they are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). God has given them charge over us—that is, over each believer “that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High” (Psalm 91:1). They “excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20).

Wide is the variety of His commandments with respect to angelic ministry to believers. “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. . . . They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalms 34:7; 91:12).

Not only physical protection but also guidance and encouragement are angelic ministries. When a believer dies, angels translate his spirit to the Lord’s presence (Luke 16:222 Corinthians 5:8), and we can look forward then to meeting and thanking them personally as we come to understand better all their ministries on our behalf during our lifetimes. They are keenly concerned with our salvation and spiritual progress, “which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). Finally, “when the Son of man shall come in his glory,” He will bring “all the holy angels with him” (Matthew 25:31) as He judges the world. HMM

 From the Institute for Creation Research
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Nuggets – Lessons to Learn

Lessons to Learn
“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)

The Lord Jesus called all who would be His disciples to “learn of me” (or “from me,” Matthew 11:29), and our text verse contains the first use of “learn” in the New Testament, thus indicating a basic item we must learn when we become Christians.

The Lord stressed that God cared nothing about the ritualistic offering of animal sacrifices, as such, but rather desired understanding of the meaning of those sacrifices, accompanied by the motivating love and faith of a repentant heart. He referred them back to their own Scripture: “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). This is the most difficult but most basic lesson to learn by one seeking forgiveness and salvation.

There are many subsequent lessons to learn, of course; many of them very difficult even for sincere, believing Christians. Paul notes one of them he had learned the hard way: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Another difficult but vital lesson has to do with Christian humility in leadership, “that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Even the Lord Jesus Christ in His perfect humanity had lessons to learn. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Finally, having learned these and many other such lessons, we must not forget them. Paul, in his final letter, so reminds us: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned” (2 Timothy 3:14). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Creation and the Sciences

Creation and the Sciences
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)

The first chapter of Genesis is the foundational chapter of the Bible and, therefore, of all true science. It is the great creation chapter, outlining the events of that first week of time when “the heavens and the earth were finished, and. . . . God ended his work which he had made” (Genesis 2:1-2). Despite the evolutionists, God is not creating or making anything in the world today (except for special miracles as recorded in Scripture) because all His work was finished in that primeval week. He is now engaged in the work of conserving, or saving, what He first created.

There are only three acts of special creation—that is, creation out of nothing except God’s omnipotent word—recorded in this chapter. His other works were those of “making” or “forming” the created entities into complex, functioning systems.

His first creative act was to call into existence the space/mass/time cosmos. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is the domain that we now study in the physical sciences. The second is the domain of the life sciences. “God created . . . every living creature that moveth” (Genesis 1:21). It is significant that the “life” principle required a second act of direct creation. It will thus never be possible to describe living systems solely in terms of physics and chemistry.

The third act of creation was that of the image of God in man and woman. The study of human beings is the realm of the human sciences. Our bodies can be analyzed chemically and our living processes biologically, but human behavior can only really be understood in terms of our relation to God, whose image we share. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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