Altering Your Spiritual Diet

My husband and I have a friend who has Celiac disease, and as a result,  has to stick to a rigid gluten-free diet.  His life isn’t anything like the semi-serious gluten-reduced fad that’s all the rage in American pop culture or a dietary fling that allows people to eat wheat when they want to and avoid it when they don’t, or when there’s no other choice.  Having a confirmed diagnosis of this autoimmune disorder means that if he ingests any gluten at all, it can cause damage in his small intestine. As a result he’s very careful with his food choices and even jokes that he was gluten-free long before gluten-free was “cool”. 

I asked him once if he missed eating all the flour-filled cakes, pastas and homemade breads that are the staples of just about every meal in the US, and I was surprised at his answer.  Since eating something as small as a communion wafer makes him feel terrible, he said he doesn’t even crave the things that cause him so much pain. He said that where other people see pleasure and joy in those foods, he sees only discomfort and agony.   

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Nuggets – All Things New

All Things New
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:5)

The coming of a new year is a good time to consider that glorious time to come when Christ will make everything new again. In the present age, all things “shall wax old as doth a garment” (Hebrews 1:11) under the bondage of the universal law of decay and death; indeed “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). There, in the “new Jerusalem,” we shall each have “a new name” and sing “a new song” (Revelation 21:2; 2:17; 5:9). We shall have new bodies, “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), and a new dwelling place, prepared by Christ Himself among the “many mansions” in His “Father’s house” (John 14:2).

And all the old and dying things will be completely and forever gone. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10).

What a “Happy New Year” that will be! In the meantime, we have His “new covenant” and have each been made “a new creature” in Christ (Hebrews 12:24Galatians 6:15). Since all His words “are true and faithful,” we know His promises are sure. Therefore, already, “old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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There Will Be Trouble

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In spite of all this you still do not listen to me. Leviticus 26:27  Continue reading

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Nuggets – Glorifying God Through Praise

Glorifying God Through Praise
“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)

The great summarizing commandment of the apostle Paul was, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). That is, every aspect of our lives should be so ordered as to glorify God in whatever we say and do.

This is a difficult rule to follow, for how do we determine whether such and such an action glorifies God or not? Nevertheless, there is one thing we can do that we can be absolutely certain does glorify Him—that is, offering to Him our praise and our thanks. We should offer praise for His person and work in general, thanks for what He is and does for us in particular. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me!”

This is His assurance and our incentive to praise Him in all things. “In every thing give thanks,” says the apostle, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

On this last day of the year, especially, praise and thanks should pour from our hearts and lips if we would “ordereth our conversation aright.” “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” says the psalmist, “and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2). Most of us all too commonly tend to forget all His benefits and fret over our troubles and burdens.

If we desire to glorify God, on the other hand, we should recount all our blessings and leave our burdens with Him. In the words of the old hymn: “Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!” Then will “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) fill our hearts and minds, enabling the indwelling Holy Spirit to “shew the salvation of God” not only to us, but in us and through us to others. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Repentance from Sin and Faults–But What’s the Difference?

Immortality Road

If we were to outline the apostles’ doctrine “Repentance from dead works,” it would roughly look like this:

I. Repentance from Dead Works

A. Repentance from sin

B. Repentance from faults

We see that this teaching of repentance is divided into two distinct categories that are very different in meaning. Most people do not know the scriptural difference. The denominations have their own definitions. There is much confusion.

Especially when it comes to sin. Some say that shuffling your feet on a sawdust floor is sin. Some say that sipping a glass of wine is a sin. Some say losing your patience and yelling at someone is a sin.

God looks at the intent of the heart and not the outward appearance of things like natural man does. Sin is the state of spiritual being that we are born with. It is based on the love of self and the…

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Nuggets – Firstfruits

Firstfruits
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)

There are seven New Testament references to “firstfruits,” all of which are metaphorical applications of the Old Testament commandment to offer the firstfruits of one’s increase to the Lord. We now have to give our own firstfruits to the government in the form of “withheld” amounts from our wages. It is still good, nonetheless, to honor the Lord with the “firstfruits” equivalent of our increase, regardless of the government.

The New Testament references are all beautiful spiritual applications of this concept. At His resurrection, Christ Himself has “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). When we receive Christ, we receive our eternal salvation first of all in terms of “the firstfruits of the Spirit” (Romans 8:23). Furthermore, we ourselves are, to Him, a sort of firstfruits pledge of future growth. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18).

This thought is also applied to the first converts of a new mission field. Paul speaks of “the firstfruits of Asia” (the western part of Asia Minor) and “the firstfruits of Achaia” (southern Greece) in Romans 16:5 and 1 Corinthians 16:15, respectively. He also speaks of believing Jews as having preceded Gentiles into the kingdom as a holy firstfruit (Romans 11:16) to the Lord.

The last of the New Testament references to firstfruits relates to the 144,000 Israelite witnesses in the coming great tribulation. “These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). Beautiful and pointed though these metaphors may be, however, they in no wise lessen our responsibility to honor God with our own firstfruits. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Faithful and Just

Faithful and Just
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

All too often when we read or quote a favorite verse of Scripture, its familiarity gets in the way of our complete understanding of the verse. Such may be the case with today’s verse, one of the most beloved and oft-quoted passages of Scripture. To begin with, we must remember that the topic is sinful behavior. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), therefore sin cannot go unpunished. A faithful and just judge must punish such behavior; to forgive it is neither faithful nor just. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

But the Bible also says, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father. . . . Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 2:1; 1:7).

Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sins. He died so that we don’t have to die, for God “hath made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God has further promised that “whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

God in His mercy and grace has declared it to be so. What was once devised as merciful and gracious is now “faithful and just.”

Because He is just, He cannot allow the punishment for our sin to be inflicted twice. Because He is faithful and has promised to forgive a penitent and confessing sinner, He will not only “forgive us our sins,” but “cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” thereby restoring the sweet fellowship broken by our rebellion.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Name of the Lord Jesus

The Name of the Lord Jesus
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

This is the first of 144 references to the name of Christ in the New Testament. The word “name” (Greek noma) occurs only about 95 times when referring to any or all other names. This fact is itself a sort of commentary on Philippians 2:9: “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

In biblical times, a person’s name expressed the character or attributes desired for a child by his or her parents. The reason for the name “JESUS,” which means “Jehovah saves” or simply “salvation,” was given by the angel: “He shall save his people from their sins.”

There is only one Savior, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); but Hisname does save! “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

Those who do receive Christ are thenceforth associated with His name—and therefore with His person and work. First, they are to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). They are then to order their lives in a way that honors His name. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

He has given many gracious promises of answered prayer if we pray in His name, “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16). The final use of “name” in the Bible stresses our eternal identification with His name, for “his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4) as we are united with Him in the age to come. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Jesus Christ: Creator

Jesus Christ: Creator
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

The Old Testament uses several names for the One who created. For example: “For thus saith the LORD [i.e., Jehovah] that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it” (Isaiah 45:18). But the New Testament leaves no doubt as to who the Creator is.

Today’s verse states it clearly. The “him” in context is the Father’s “dear Son” (v. 13) who shed “his blood” (v. 14). Similarly, the favorite passage in John 1:3 identifies Christ as the Creator: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “He was in the world, and the world was made by him” (v. 10). “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (v. 14). No member of the human race nor member of the Trinity fits this description except Jesus Christ. “God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus Christ is the Creator, and once He put on human form, His creative abilities continued to find application. Several of His miracles involved creation out of nothing. Note the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:10-11), the transformation of water into wine (John 2:9-11), and bringing life from non-life—the raising of Lazarus (John 11:43-44), just to name a few.

Perhaps the most important creative act of Christ is one He performs on repentant sinners every day. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – Never Ashamed

Never Ashamed
“For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11)

Just where does the Scripture say this? Paul is apparently quoting here from Isaiah 28:16, which is the following: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

The question is: Why did Paul change the Hebrew word for “make haste” to the Greek word for “be ashamed”? He did the same thing in Romans 9:33. “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” This verse makes the question even more involved because here Paul combines the quote with Isaiah 8:14: “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence.” Note also 1 Peter 2:6-8, which combines both verses with Psalm 118:22: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.”

The Greek Septuagint translation apparently rendered “make haste” (which is the correct meaning of the Hebrew word, as confirmed by all its other uses in the Old Testament) by a Greek word meaning something like “put to shame.” More importantly, however, these passages illustrate the truth that the Holy Spirit (the real Author of the Bible) has a perfect right to interpret His writing however He will. And He interpreted “make haste” to mean “be ashamed.”

That is, when we believe on Christ, we never need to flee in haste from His enemies, for we can never be put to shame when anchored on this sure foundation. As the Lord said in another passage: “They shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (Isaiah 49:23). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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