RSS Robot

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  1. God Is Omniscient

    “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18) Although the concept of absolute knowledge is general to almost all ideas of God, it is perhaps the most difficult for any human being to understand. Most of us work very hard to obtain knowledge and, in most cases, even harder to retain it. The practical issue with this teaching is w... More... View the full article
  2. This post is a bit outside of my normal subject matter, but I invite you to hang with me! (This is a simplified view of old Testament offerings, not designed to be a comprehensive study.) Have you ever been mind-boggled by all the terms and varying kinds of sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament? I have! So let’s break it down for minds like mine that appreciate simplicity. Good news! There were FOUR basic reasons that God invited His people to worship Him through offerings and sacrifices in the Old Testament. Just four! There are many Old Testament terms and processes that expand on these four basic purposes, but these same four purposes carry forward in a marvelous way in New Testament Christian living—your life and mine. There’s a direct parallel between what God invited the nation of Israel to do, and what God invites you to do in terms of sacrificial worship. The Old Testament sacrificial system provides an amazing gospel-oriented view of our Christian walk and worship today. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s how the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings break down into four major categories or pictures: 1. REDEMPTION—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Pictured Redemption. They provided a picture of God’s plan of salvation. They pictured being reconciled to God’s heart by the shedding of blood. These sacrifices didn’t actually “save the soul” or “remove sin” but they did picture the coming Saviour who would be the final sacrifice for sins forever. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:” (Hebrews 10:11) These sacrifices were mandatory and communicated to men that they were hopelessly separated from God, apart from a substitutionary sacrifice. These offerings were called “sin” and “trespass” offerings. Without them, there was no relating to God. These offerings taught a primitive people about the principle of atonement. TODAY: Good news! Jesus is our final sin and trespass offering—once and for all! All the sacrifices of the Old Testament simply pointed to the coming suffering of Jesus in our place. You never have to offer for your sins! Jesus already did! Today, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9) “…there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26) We don’t do this type of sacrificial worship today because Jesus was the final and ultimate sacrifice forever! He is our sin offering and trespass offering! “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:12) Important—This first offering, accomplished by Jesus, is what trips the trigger of motivation in our hearts to participate willingly and lovingly in all the other opportunities to offer worship to God! 2. RELATIONSHIP—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Pictured Love for God. These offerings were voluntary expressions of worship and love—they were about relating with God and enjoying Him personally. These were not required as much as they were invited! These were God’s way of giving His people a way to say “thank you” and “I love you!” They were designed to flow from willing hearts, not from mindless or heartless obligation. In fact, when it became mindless and heartless God said, “STOP IT!” (See Isaiah 1:11-20, and 29:13) It’s aways about the heart first! These offerings were called “burnt offerings” and “grain offerings” and they pictured a heart that was returning to God, or a heart of devotion and commitment to Him. These offerings were significant because they were offered willingly, freely, and gladly. They were acts of worship. This would have included, but was not limited to the “tithe” (which was commanded as a way to maintain the national function of Irael’s Theocracy. It was almost like a tax that funded the political and spiritual structure of Hebrew life.) TODAY: Anything you give to and through your local church on a regular basis could be considered a modern parallel to these types of Old Testament worship offerings. In like manner, our New Testament systematic giving should be consistent, glad hearted, joyful, willing, and driven by generous grace. Our giving should be sincere expressions of love and worship—never out of grudging or necessity, but cheerful. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8) “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2) 3. COMMUNITY—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Fostered Fellowship/Celebration. This third category of giving provided for fellowship and the celebratory worship of God. They fostered community amongst God’s people through meals, feasts, family time, and celebrations that brought people together in remembrance and worship. These offerings were called “peace offerings” “wave offerings” “heave offerings” “vow offerings” “thanksgiving offerings” and “freewill offerings.” They were always expressions of thanksgiving and celebration—often combined with a feast that God appointed for celebration, rest, and worship. Isn’t this cool?! God actually provided enough for His people to take extra time off, bring their abundance together, offer to Him with joyful hearts, and then have a feast together (sometimes a celebration lasting days!) What a joyful and loving God! He asked for these offerings, and then He gave them back to be enjoyed by His people. TODAY: In many ways we do this sort of thing today. First, we come together every Sunday to worship and celebrate a resurrected Saviour and the grace of the gospel that has rescued us from condemnation. Then, any time a local church comes together with a celebration offering, or to enjoy a meal, or commemorate God’s goodness, this would, in some ways, parallel God’s practice for Old Testament Israel not only to worship Him, but also to celebrate Him in community and fellowship. Who knew that potlucks had such biblical roots?! 4. MISSION—Some Sacrifices/Offerings Advanced God’s Name in Special Ways. These offerings were willing-hearted worship that allowed for occasional special offerings for missional purposes. These offerings were periodic in scripture and usually involved some significant missional advancement of God’s name and glory. For instance, special offerings were taken to construct the tabernacle and all of its furnishings. Again special offerings were received to build the temple in Jerusalem. Again, they were received to repair and restore God’s temple and worship. These offerings were always willing-hearted, free-will, special offerings for the purpose of corporate mission and the greater worship of God. Amazingly, God always provided for the people to participate in these offerings (as in “spoiling the Egyptians” before being delivered from Egypt.) More importantly, these offerings were not coerced, but rather they were the product of God stirring up the hearts of the people to have a willingness to give. “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.” (Exodus 35:21) Today: Any time a local church receives a special offering for a special project to advance the gospel, this would parallel these Old Testament purposes. This may include when a church builds a building, restores a work for God’s glory, or engages in a missions project to advance the gospel in some significant way. “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” (Philippians 4:14-17) To Summarize: The Old Testament gives four primary purposes of offerings: —The purpose of redemption (a picture of Jesus one day removing sin) —The purpose of relationship (expressing love to God from a grateful heart.) —The purpose of community (worshipful celebration of God in fellowship) —The purpose of mission (funding projects that advance God’s name.) So, today, our New Testament Church life should model these four values—Jesus was our final sin offering. Our tithe and additional offerings express our love for and relationship with God from joyful and cheerful hearts—and they make possible the ministry of the gospel through your local church. Our fellowship together and giving to one another celebrates community and the local church family. And occasional special offerings advance God’s work at home and around the world. There’s no doubt, in both Old and New Testament life, that God calls His people to worship Him through the regular, generous, cheerful, willing, and celebratory sacrifices of our hearts and our resources to Him and His people. And, He always provides for us to do so by His grace! If we trust Him and live generously, we will find that He will not only meet our needs, but often exceed them by His grace. Give because you “get to”, not because you “have to.” Give because you “want to” not because you “ought to.” Give to love, not to get. Give gladly, not greedily. Give in delight, not in fear or guilt. (Remember your guilt offering is already made by Jesus!) Give willingly, voluntarily, worshipfully because the greatest GIVER of all time is on your side, in your corner, promising to meet your needs from the vastness of His unsearchable riches and grace. Give because you can celebrate that you are the redeemed child of the Greatest Giver ever! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27) “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) View the full article
  3. The Oracles of God

    “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:2-3) This striking synonym for the Scriptures (“the oracles of God”) occurs just three times in the Bible. In our text, Paul is emphasizing the great privilege and ... More... View the full article
  4. NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture Introducing the newest Lighthouse Trails author, Danny Frigulti and his Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others […] The post NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Ten Word of Faith Doctrines Weighed Against Scripture appeared first on . View the full article
  5. Hope for Our Hurt

    Nearly every Christian I meet has been hurt on some level in some context, and many have been hurt in spiritual contexts—environments and relationships that promised to be a haven from hurt. Hurt is not the exception, hurt is the norm. Everyone has a story of someone who hurt them at some point, or many points in life. In a fallen world, we should expect hurt and expect the need to process hurt biblically by God’s grace. Perhaps you are a ministry leader who has been hurt in ministry. Perhaps you are a Christian who was hurt by another Christian. Whatever the case, how we process hurt will, in many ways, determine the path and outcomes of our lives. Let’s explore how to process hurt biblically… Victim or Perpetrator? The first place to stop in “processing hurt” is to see myself is not only victim but also a perpetrator. You see, I haven’t only “been hurt”—I have also “hurt others.” Sure the scales and magnitude vary—perhaps someone has deeply hurt you, and you have not returned that magnitude of hurt upon another. But the fact remains, just as you have a story of being hurt by someone else, someone else has a story of being hurt by you in some way. This is the human condition in a fallen world. We hurt. We are hurt. And we perpetuate hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Only seeing myself as “being hurt” will cause me to play the victim. It will slant my perspective and my response. But seeing myself as one who has also “hurt another” will humble me to see the real problem of my sinful heart. It will remind me of my own deep need of grace and the power of the gospel to heal my hurt, and mature my tendency to inflict hurt. The Gospel Applied to My Hurt The second place to stop in “processing hurt” is to see Jesus on the cross being hurt by me, being hurt for me, absorbing all the hurt I’ve ever inflicted on others, and absorbing all the hurt I’ve ever experienced personally. The gospel of grace—the inexhaustible love of God displayed in Jesus suffering—shines a bright light on the topic of hurt. It gives all of my hurt a very different context. (See Hebrews 12:2-3) Jesus suffered for me. Jesus suffered like me. Jesus suffered with me. Jesus absorbed my suffering. Jesus suffered to rescue me from hurt, heal me from the wounds of hurt, and redeem me from the living death that hurt creates. He suffered to restore within me a whole heart—capable of forgiving hurt and growing in maturity—that I might bless others and hurt less. This is one reason of many that the gospel is more than simply the way to be saved. The gospel is God’s power of transformation in every area of our lives! Healing or Hiding? The third place to stop in “processing hurt” is to come out of hiding and face the mirror of God’s grace. These first two positions—seeing myself as a perpetrator; and seeing my Saviour as the one who absorbed my sin and my suffering—force me to reckon differently with hurt. These are transforming realizations. Because of Jesus, I no longer need to coddle my hurt or return hurt on others. Because of Jesus, when I’m hurt, I am able to forgive others as Jesus forgives me. I can allow His grace to heal my hurt rather than to go on hurting others and holding on to my hurt. His grace gives the ability to be “tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” (Eph. 4:32) When I hurt someone else, if I’m aware of it, I can repent and seek forgiveness from the one I hurt, because Jesus’ love and grace makes me secure enough to seek the healing of those I’ve hurt. His grace humbles and give the ability to “confess our faults one to another” which is a part of God’s process of healing! (James 5:16) Hiding Hurt, or Healing Hurt? In light of the gospel, nursing hurt is not an option. How often do we cultivate or harbor our hurt; when God makes His grace available for healing? Cultivating hurt is a choice—a terribly self-destructive one. Processing my hurt in light of my sinfulness, Jesus suffering, and the healing of God’s grace is the only way to turn hurt into fruit. (See Hebrews 12:11-13) Through the gospel of grace, God takes the bad things that happen to me, and the bad things that happened through me—and He turns them into the peaceable fruit of righteousness. It is only the power of the gospel that can make this happen. Hurt—Expect It, Resolve It, Grow Through It We can’t ever expect to fully escape hurt until we get to Heaven. As long as we are engaged with people in real community and ministry, we face the possibility of being hurt. Yet, we can hope to hurt less, and more importantly, we can have the maturity and wholeness to understand how to process hurt through grace. We can learn how to allow God’s grace to heal our hurt and to simultaneously crush our fleshly tendencies to be hurtful. God’s heart for my hurt is to heal it. God’s heart for my tendency to hurt is to mature it. This only happens as I yield to the daily power of God’s Spirit as He uses the power of the gospel to transform my heart. As long as there are Christians on earth, gathering together in local churches, there will be hurt; hence there must be forgiveness, grace, growth, and patience. There must be maturing Christians who value the gospel enough to process hurt with grace. Mature Christians know they will be hurt. They also know that they are capable of inflicting hurt. Therefore they forgive those who hurt them, and they repent when they inflict hurt. On both sides of the equation, they respond in grace and process hurt God’s way—with humility. Not Processing Hurt… Unresolved hurt results in anger, bitterness, resentment, faithlessness, self-segregation, and self-preservation. We can’t go there. The world needs to gospel too much for us to hide out in leper colonies of hurt! Withdrawal from gospel ministry and from Christian community is not an option. Courage calls us out of hiding and into humility and grace, where hurt can be healed. If you become a hiding leper, your suffering will continue, your hurt will multiply, and your heart will grow increasingly numb and self-destructive. This very decision inflicts more hurt upon the cause of Christ. When Christians walk away from church, refusing the allow healing, the whole church is hurt. On the other hand, when Christians courageously mature in grace, the gospel advances, the church thrives, and hearts heal! When you are hurting you have three options… —Hide it—bury it and let it eat you from the inside. —Hurt others—compound the hurt by reacting and striking back. —Heal it—at the cross and through the gospel, allow God to heal it. Spiritual immaturity hides or hurts. Spiritual maturity heals in grace. Spiritual maturity absorbs like Jesus did, and because Jesus did! We don’t have to hide or hurt—we can let God HEAL! Let the gospel of grace do a work in your heart that nothing else can! You will find that God’s grace is still quite amazing! View the full article
  6. Christ the King

    “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Timothy 6:15) Of the many descriptive titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the most significant is that of King, because this speaks of His universal dominion. The day is coming when “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and ... More... View the full article
  7. Understanding the Times – “Men Love Darkness Rather Than Light” By Maria Kneas (author of How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution and Strength for Tough Times) I was the first Christian in my family. Around 1982, Mom and Dad (who were in their mid-sixties) began reading the Bible. They became so excited they eagerly devoured it. Dad would come running into the room […] The post Understanding the Times – “Men Love Darkness Rather Than Light” appeared first on . View the full article
  8. Colorado court: Ruling stands that baker can’t cite religion By Donna Bryson Associated Press DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the case of a suburban Denver baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, letting stand a previous ruling that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner must provide service despite his Christian beliefs. Charlie Craig and David […] The post Colorado court: Ruling stands that baker can’t cite religion appeared first on . View the full article
  9. Canadian Police Officers Practice Meditation in Buddhist Temple as Part of Training By Garret Haley Christian News Network TORONTO – A Canadian police department that is reportedly experimenting with new training methods recently had a group of new recruits participate in a meditation lesson at a Buddhist temple. On April 7, a group of approximately 35 police officers visited the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre […] The post Canadian Police Officers Practice Meditation in Buddhist Temple as Part of Training appeared first on . View the full article
  10. The Watchers

    “I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven.” (Daniel 4:13) It is only in this chapter of Daniel (see also verses 17 and 23) that certain angelic beings called “watchers” are mentioned. Whether the term applies to all God’s holy angels or only to a certain order of angels has not bee...More... View the full article
  11. Last night was a highlight for Terrie and me and for our church family as we had the ordination service for our youngest son, Matthew. I remember almost fifteen years ago, as I prayed through a stack of decision cards from teens at our youth conference who had surrendered to full-time gospel ministry and came a name that brought great joy: Matthew Chappell. I look back over the years since then, and I know that where Matt is today is the fruit of so many investments. It’s the fruit of every Sunday school teacher, Christian school teacher, youth worker, West Coast Baptist College faculty and staff, and the Lancaster Baptist Church deacons and church family who have loved our family and encouraged our children. After high school, Matt attended West Coast Baptist College where he met his wife, Katie. For the past five years, Matt and Katie have served with my brother, Pastor Stephen Chappell, in Oceanside, California. As my brother attested to last night, Matt has been diligent in his calling, and the hand of God and fruit of ministry is evident in his life. Matt and Katie have led dozens of teens to Christ through public high school ministry. They’ve established Bible clubs in area high schools. They’ve developed a youth ministry at Coastline Baptist and invested in teens to nurture their walk with God. It was my joy last night to preach Matt’s ordination service from 1 Timothy 3 on “A Good Work.” The ministryisa work, as verse 1 of this chapter notes: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desiretha good work.” Later this year, Matt is plantingRock Hill Baptist Churchin Fontana, California. Please pray for Matt and Katie as they launch out by faith in this endeavor. Terrie and I thank and praise the Lord that both of our sons are serving the Lord as preachers of the gospel ministry and that all four of our children are passionately following the Lord in ministry. We know it is by God’s grace and the fruit of many loving investments in their lives. And if you invest in children or teens in any capacity, be encouraged at God’s unfolding work in their lives. We don’t always see it immediately, but over time, it bears fruit. Keep investing! Related posts: A Father’s Moment of Joy Matthew and Katie Engaged! Matthew & Katie’s Wedding View the full article
  12. God Is Omnipotent

    “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17) The Genesis record of creation generates more hostility among men than any other message. Even secular atheists claim to respect the humanitarian teachings of Jesus, but they bristle irrationally when...More... View the full article
  13. He Knows

    “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” (Revelation 2:19) Seven times in the letters to His seven representative churches in Revelation 2 and 3, the Lord Jesus says: “I know thy works” (Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, ...More... View the full article
  14. Does that sound easy? There are times seems not, until we pause to think. I remember over 30 years ago listening to a motivational speaker telling about being late to a very important meeting where she would interview a Japanese gentlemen who had a very busy schedule. She began to think about what would be the worst thing that could happen – she would be fired. But, that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen in her life. As she entered the company parking lot, she yelled out the window with a smile that her husband and children were just fine. Losing one of them would have been much worse than losing the job she applied for and accepted. That is exactly what we should be doing as Christians: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:19-20 KJV) Do you believe a misled Jew wrote those words, or were they inspired by God to show us how our relationship with Him can be? I believe He loves us enough to provide guidance. Then we can give thanks always – even in a hospital emergency room Tuesday eveining with your spouse having chest pains. Yes, we can give thanks that there is good treatments. good facilities, excellent doctors and nurses, a triage process that cuts down on waiting. Pause to think about what it was like in previous decades, centuries, and thank God for what is available now. That’s a good process, you know – pause, listen, think, respond, to use with others. Can we be grateful for all the people that are in our life? Come one, truthfully, didn’t you think of one person as you thought? I came up with a couple – and the idea of asking God to let me know why they are in my life. For my good, or theirs? That’s a part of prayer, too. We are told to pray without ceasing. It’s in one verse, and not hard to understand. In fact, it would appear I was repeating: Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV) A nice standalone sentence that fits right in with the rest of the advice: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 KJV) Do you know that if we do all of that, all of our lives, we still are not “good enough” to stand before God as His child? Yes, He asks that we do what He wants, but He does have a requirement in reaching Him that many will not accept. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV) John 3:16-18 says it even better. Excuse me? I’m called judgmental? I’m condemning? Please read the chapter. God makes the judgment, I don’t. I study His word, looking to see how what He said affected others. I see those who accept as well as those who reject. I prefer believing, but I can never, ever, convince someone else. It’s not my job. Nope, mine is to encourage the reading of His word and allow others to make up their own minds. To help me – and them – I find it much better to pray without ceasing.View the full article
  15. Buried with Him

    “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) The burial of Christ after His death was extremely important for two reasons. First, it assures us that His death was a physical death and that His resurrection was a bodi...More... View the full article