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Month: February 2010

Recycled Error & The Superior Promises Of Christ

A popular, well-worn adage opines: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is certainly true in regard to spiritual error. In keeping with the contemporary zeitgeist, Satan is a great recycler, recirculating old lies to gullible mankind. Take for example his time-honored tactic of idolatry coupled with sexual immorality. When the ancient mercenary-seer Balaam – a sort of “for profit-prophet” – was hired to curse the Israelites, God thwarted his efforts on three occasions. His imprecations were divinely turned to blessings; on his fourth utterance he even prophesied of their glorious destiny (see Num. 22-24.) During this unsuccessful spiritual attack, the Israelites were ignorant of the threat; nonetheless, God protected them from wickedness in high places. Unable to beat them through curses, Balaam resorted to baser tactics, counseling the Moabites to entice the Israelites to enrage the Lord through spiritual and physical fornication under the pretext of inviting them to a feast. Subsequently, many of them succumbed to idolatrous debauchery and incurred the Lord’s wrath.
To later generations of Israelites this sordid incident at Baal Peor was a cautionary tale of the dangers of mixing with pagans and their religions (e.g. Josh. 22:17.) Unfortunately, the memory of it did not prevent it from reoccurring in various forms in their history thereafter. Nor did it preclude an outbreak of such vile iniquity in the church at Pergamos. Worst of all, the mixture of errant theology and immorality is far too prevalent within modern Christendom, even penetrating churches which profess to be evangelical. While such sin may seem tantalizingly pleasurable, it cannot compare with what the Lord Jesus offers to His followers.
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Recycled Error & The Superior Promises Of Christ

A popular, well-worn adage opines: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is certainly true in regard to spiritual error. In keeping with the contemporary zeitgeist, Satan is a great recycler, recirculating old lies to gullible mankind. Take for example his time-honored tactic of idolatry coupled with sexual immorality. When the ancient mercenary-seer Balaam – a sort of “for profit-prophet” – was hired to curse the Israelites, God thwarted his efforts on three occasions. His imprecations were divinely turned to blessings; on his fourth utterance he even prophesied of their glorious destiny (see Num. 22-24.) During this unsuccessful spiritual attack, the Israelites were ignorant of the threat; nonetheless, God protected them from wickedness in high places. Unable to beat them through curses, Balaam resorted to baser tactics, counseling the Moabites to entice the Israelites to enrage the Lord through spiritual and physical fornication under the pretext of inviting them to a feast. Subsequently, many of them succumbed to idolatrous debauchery and incurred the Lord’s wrath.
To later generations of Israelites this sordid incident at Baal Peor was a cautionary tale of the dangers of mixing with pagans and their religions (e.g. Josh. 22:17.) Unfortunately, the memory of it did not prevent it from reoccurring in various forms in their history thereafter. Nor did it preclude an outbreak of such vile iniquity in the church at Pergamos. Worst of all, the mixture of errant theology and immorality is far too prevalent within modern Christendom, even penetrating churches which profess to be evangelical. While such sin may seem tantalizingly pleasurable, it cannot compare with what the Lord Jesus offers to His followers.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Certainty Amidst The Uncertainty Of Life

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Prov. 27:1
On February 4th my family and I arrived on a small island in the Bahamas, called Man-O-War Cay. Like many times before, we came to this beautiful place, where we have so many friends, in order to preach the Word of God in one of the local churches. As usual, we took a ferry from Marsh Harbour, the largest town on Abaco island, to the previously mentioned cay. Our captain on the ferry was a brother in the Lord whom I knew from past visits. Regrettably, I cannot say that I knew him well – most of my familiarity with this man came from prayer meetings on the island. Although he was comparatively young (37 years old), he was often the object of fervent, united prayer, for he had an array of health problems, mostly stemming from chronic kidney ailments that plagued him from infancy. Over the years he had numerous surgeries and medical procedures – including two kidney transplants; thus his bodily condition was far from robust. In spite of these difficulties, he was a kind, unselfish man, who was beloved by his family and many friends (this latter group includes many people from the U.S., Canada, and other countries, who knew him from the ferry and other activities on his home island.)

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Fathers & Sons

History is suffused with problematic father-son relationships. Within the ranks of biography, works such as Edmund Gosse’s highly biased diatribe against his father’s faith (Father & Son), and Frank McCourt’s lyrical, poignant tale of impoverished childhood (Angela’s Ashes) represent the prevalence of disharmony between fathers and their progeny. Of course, it seems to be a right of passage for many celebrities to do the talk-show circuit, recounting their difficult relationships with their fathers (R & B singer Marvin Gaye was even murdered by his father in 1984 after a violent argument.)i Sadly, family problems are not limited to celebrities; many ordinary families struggle with divisions in their midst – particularly among fathers and sons.
The great families of the Old Testament were not exempt from struggles of this sort. Problems abounded in the relationships of Abraham and Ishmael, as well as among Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. The twelve sons of Israel, however, are decidedly the poster children for family dysfunction. Nonetheless, in His amazing grace, the Lord worked in their lives and used them to found His chosen nation, Israel. In keeping with His expansive character and marvelous redemptive work, their names will forever adorn the gates of the future New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12.) When one compares them with the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father’s only begotten Son, the difference is striking. He alone demonstrates the divine intention for paternal and filial relationships.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Fathers & Sons

History is suffused with problematic father-son relationships. Within the ranks of biography, works such as Edmund Gosse’s highly biased diatribe against his father’s faith (Father & Son), and Frank McCourt’s lyrical, poignant tale of impoverished childhood (Angela’s Ashes) represent the prevalence of disharmony between fathers and their progeny. Of course, it seems to be a right of passage for many celebrities to do the talk-show circuit, recounting their difficult relationships with their fathers (R & B singer Marvin Gaye was even murdered by his father in 1984 after a violent argument.)i Sadly, family problems are not limited to celebrities; many ordinary families struggle with divisions in their midst – particularly among fathers and sons.
The great families of the Old Testament were not exempt from struggles of this sort. Problems abounded in the relationships of Abraham and Ishmael, as well as among Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. The twelve sons of Israel, however, are decidedly the poster children for family dysfunction. Nonetheless, in His amazing grace, the Lord worked in their lives and used them to found His chosen nation, Israel. In keeping with His expansive character and marvelous redemptive work, their names will forever adorn the gates of the future New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12.) When one compares them with the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father’s only begotten Son, the difference is striking. He alone demonstrates the divine intention for paternal and filial relationships.

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.