Face it. The day we step into eternity may come sooner than we think. In preparation for that moment, we need to know this truth-not everyone is going to heaven. How can we know for sure that we are going to heaven?
From GraceThruFaith, Part 2 of 2.
Something Old, Something New
Part 2 of 2 in the series Old and New
What’s external and physical in the Old becomes internal and spiritual in the New.
The Epistle to the Hebrews underscores the issue we covered last time on the nature of the Bible. The 66 “books” penned by 40 scribes over hundreds of years are really components of a single message … a message describing two agreements or covenants, but consistent in design and intent from Genesis through Revelation. You’ll hear liberal scholars (oxymoron?) talk about the differences between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the new. Nonsense. It’s simply a matter of which side of the cross you’re on. We used prophecy as both an example and an authentication of the Bible’s singularity of purpose and its supernatural origin.
Now I’d like to demonstrate that every event and requirement commanded by the Lord in the Old Covenant has its fulfillment in the New. They all began as external and physical acts and became internal and spiritual principles. In addition to being real requirements given for sound purpose, they were also symbolic; models meant to teach us lessons about God and His incredible plan for us. Hebrews 10:1; the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves.
And just as it is with prophecy, understanding the context of the old dramatically increases comprehension of the new. Let’s try a few examples.
From GraceThruFaith, Part 1 of 2.
Something Old, Something New
Part 1 of 2 in the series Old and New
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.’” (Psalm 40:6-8, from the Septuagint translation. Attributed to Jesus in Hebrews 10:5-7).
People who don’t think of the Bible as one message for everyone, but see the Old Testament as the part for the Jews while the New testament is the part for the Church miss out on a lot. They don’t see that while the two parts of the Book are obviously different they are also tied together.
The Old Testament explained how the Israelites were supposed to behave while the New Testament takes some of those behavioral imperatives and presents them in the spiritual sense to show us what we’re supposed to believe. If you look closely you’ll find that things that obviously call for external, physical, and national behavior in the Old Testament often become internal, spiritual and personal beliefs in the New.
I’ve been doing a personal study of the Psalms and read this one the other day. Psalm 29 is filled with David’s appropriately magnificent praise to our awesome Lord. He is Holy, powerful and majestic, ruling the universe with glory and strength. The Lord—the great I AM—reigns as King forever!
A psalm of David.
1 Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
Last week I was looking back at some of my first posts, back in 2011. My second post was titled “I Wonder…” When I read it again, I was struck by how much has happened and yet stayed the same since then. Hmm… isn’t that considered a paradox?
This is what I wrote then.
Lately I’ve been wondering about the deeper meaning of life. I mean, what if this is all there is?
I read this earlier today in Streams in the Desert:
“If I see God in everything, He will calm and color everything I see! Perhaps the circumstances causing my sorrows will not be removed and my situation will remain the same, but if Christ is brought into my grief and gloom as my Lord and Master, He will “surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).”
Now, I have to start by saying that I do try to see God in everything, but I’m not really sure about that “calm and color everything I see” stuff. When I live with yet another migraine (and this current one has lasted almost all week), hear about helpless hurting children, view photos depicting yet another flood or earthquake, read about another tax hike-pay cut-employee cutback-home foreclosure, or simply stand by the side of a close friend struggling just to make ends meet, I ask myself again: what is life really all about? Are we simply here to suffer through life’s challenges and then die? Or is there something more?
We all have a yearning to know the reasons behind our circumstances—that desire to justify the bad things that happen to us. If we seek to do what is right, help others who are in need, and are very careful to not hurt anyone or anything, why must we still suffer?
I don’t have the answers, although I know Who does. Stay tuned…
Fast forward 4 years to where I now am physically.
Every day is a new adventure in pain. I still live with several chronic pain illnesses:Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), and chronic migraines. CFIDS is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
Some people with FMS or CFS/CFIDS/ME get better over time. Others get worse, and I’m in this group. Add to this that my migraines now assault me daily. We live at a 5500 foot elevation, and my doctor told me once that she believes my body never has adjusted to living in a high elevation area, even though we’ve been here for almost eleven years.
Every prescription medication I’ve tried for any of these illnesses has either not worked for me or caused huge side effects. Alternative therapies such as acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic or massage only work as long as it takes to administer the therapy. Several years ago I used to work out several times a week, until I realized that exercising through my pain was causing even worse migraines.
Does this get me down? My feelings try to make me feel frustrated and helpless about all of this. But read on to find out the one Reason I can grab hold of those feelings before they take over.
This leads to what’s going on now with me spiritually.
I am more convinced than ever that God is with me every single day. My true hope is in Jesus Christ and this is what carries me through each day. On days like today when I’m going through yet another FMS/CFS flare and everything I do causes even more pain, migraines and nausea, I struggle with all of this.
Not the why of it, because I know everything in my life is part of God’s plan for me. It’s the persistence … the everydayness of it … that is wearying.
These days, my life is a very delicate balance. I need to weigh everything. If I want to do something as simple as the laundry, I need to allow for rest time before as well as afterward. And most times there is payback after the activity even if I have rested well beforehand. It is very frustrating.
In spite of all that, there persists in me a joyful hope that never fails to uplift my heart. I know without a doubt that God is always with me throughout all of it. And if anyone can truly understand my pain, it is Jesus. He not only understands it, He holds me close in His arms and comforts me when I am in pain and feel discouraged. He is my God of hope. He helps me cling to that hope, which turns my frustration and weariness into joy and peace.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, please remember that if we completely place our trust in God, He will fill us with hope, joy and peace. The more we trust in Him, the more He supplies all the hope, joy and peace we need every single day.
Hope in God is saying “no” to fear or discouragement, and by so doing, saying “yes” to something that will satisfy much more down the line. Wait on God, believing that what God has planned is so much better that what we grab for ourselves! —Joni Eareckson Tada
Today I’d like to share with you something I saw and read a couple of months ago on John MacArthur’s Grace to You site. The portion of the video and interview below are about contemplative prayer, a phenomenon that is not new but is steadily growing.
Contemplative prayer presupposes that the Christian must seek outside of Scripture to hear all that God is saying, thus Scripture loses its position as the final, authoritative Word from God.¹
Below is the portion of the interview video where John MacArthur addresses the subject of contemplative prayer.
This is the section of the interview transcript for that video:
PHIL JOHNSON: What are your thoughts about contemplative prayer and the whole spiritual development movement, you know the Dallas…?
JOHN MacARTHUR: That’s just a lot of bunk.
PHIL: All right, so
JOHN: You know, it is. It’s just…look, it’s sort of a contemplating your navel, intuitive spirituality, digging deep into find your spiritual core and your spiritual center which is nonsense, but they throw Bible words at it, words like Jesus, God, Holy Spirit.
PHIL: There’s also even a dangerous aspect of mysticism there…
JOHN: Oh it is mysticism. The assumption is that spiritual truth is somewhere inside of you and that is not true. Spiritual truth is outside of you, it is external to you. It is in a book, outside of you. It is not in you. You can contemplate yourself all you want, you can go sit on a rock in the middle of nowhere and think and you will find in you no source of divine revelation whatsoever because divine revelation is external to you, it’s external to every human being, it’s in a book that God wrote. And when you put the book down and start looking into your own brain, all you’re going to do is be led down a black hole.
So…but everybody’s into spiritual formation. I was looking at a church website the other day and it proclaims itself to be an evangelistic church and an orthodox church, happened to be a Presbyterian church. And the whole website was about spiritual formation. And one of the things that they were offering was dance class in order that you can learn to get in the rhythm of the Holy Spirit. I mean, that’s just…that’s what J.I. Packer called zany. I mean, that’s just crazy stuff. But that’s what happens when you start trying to poke around inside of yourself for spiritual truth when it’s all contained in one book and that book is external to you, and the spiritual truth resides in that book, if you never lived, or if you never had a thought…it’s the external truth that we must understand because there’s nothing inside until that truth gets in our minds. And then you can go into your mind and draw out biblical truth. But if you’re trying to look deeper than what’s in your brain, which is what this is about. I don’t get it, you know me, I’m about as mystical as a rock. But I don’t even know what they’re doing and I don’t know what they come up with but all of that mystic stuff, Dallas Willard and others like him, confuse people because they use the name of Jesus and they talk about God and they use Bible verses.
Go here for the video and transcript of the entire “Practical Concerns in the Local Church: An Interview with John MacArthur.”
- What is Contemplative Prayer?
- Why is Contemplative Prayer Critically Wrong?
- God In Everything? The Premise Of Contemplative Prayer
- Research: Contemplative Prayer
I was one of those odd people who took two languages in high school: French and Latin. I haven’t used either language much since then but I do remember that Agnus Dei means Lamb of God in Latin.
The song Agnus Dei (Worthy) by Third Day is a glorious song of praise and worship to Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. As you listen to this song, ponder these words of hope and JOY that attest to the worthiness of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:
Now when He had taken the scroll,
the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb,
each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked,
and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne,
the living creatures, and the elders;
and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand,
and thousands of thousands,
saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”